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BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the twratj-ftmrth day oT Jom^ A. D. im, in tb« 

flfty-UUnl rear of the Independence of the United States of America, Charles A. Goodrich, 

if (he saitf District, hath dapoaited in this office the title of a hoolc, the r%ht whareoT ha 

* dainw as author, in the words (oUowing, to wit :— " Uvea oT the Signets to the Dedaralioa 

of Independence. By the Rev. Charles A. Goodrich." 

In conformity to the act of Congress of the United States, entitled, " an aa for tlie en> 
eouragement of learning, by securing the copies of mapa^ chann, and boolcs, to the authors 
and propriecora of such copies, during the time therein mentioned." And also to an act, 
entitled, " an act, supplementary to ar act, eutitled, an act for tl>e encouragement of learn- 
ing, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and boolcs, to the authors and proprietors of 
Mcn copiea, during the limes thereoi mentioned, and extending theiienefits thereof to ttit 

of designing, engraring, and etching historical and other printa" 

dmk i^tk$ Southern Ditirici tfNew- York, 


^ .^ 


Turn author has had it in contemplation for scTeral yean, to present to the 
pablk a work of the following land; but, until recenUy, he has not had lei- 
sore to complete his design. He was incited to the undertaking, by a belief 
that he might render an important service to his coimtrymen, especially to 
the rising generation, by giving them, in a volume o^ponvcnient size, some 
account of the distinguished band oi natriots, who composed the c<HigresB 
of 1776 ; and to whose energy and wisdom the colonies, at that time, owed 
the declaration of their independent ]>olitical existence. 

No nation can dwell with more just satisfaction upon its annals, than 
the American neople. The emigrants, who settled the country, were illus- 
trious men; aistmguishcd for their piety, wisdom, energy, and fortitude. 
Not kea illustrious were their descendants, who served as the guides and 
counsellors of the colonies, or who fought their battles during the rcvolo* 
tiooary struggle. No one who admits ue intervention of a special provi- 
dence in the affurs of nations, can hesitate to believe, that the statesmen and 
heroes of the revolution were raised up by the God of heaven, for the impor- 
tsnt and definite purpose of achieving the independence oi America---of 
rescuing a people, whose ancestors had oeen eminently devoted to the duties 
of piety, from tne thraldom tmder which they had groaned for years — and oi 
presenting to the monarchical governments in the casiem hemisphere, the 
example of a government, founded upon principles of civil and religious 


For the accomplishment of such a purpose, the statesmen and heroes of 
the revolution were eminently fitted. They were endowed with minds of 
difltin&ruished power, and exhibited an example of political Ragacity, and 
of high militarv prowess, which commanded the admiration of statesmen and 
heroes, througnout the world. Their patriotism was of a pure and exalted 
character ; their zeal was commensurate with the noble objects which they 
had in view ; and amid the toils, and privations, and sufTenngs, which they 
were called to endure, they exhibited a patience and fortitude, rarely equal- 
led in the history of the world. 

Of the revolutionary patriots, none present themselves with more interest 
to the rising crcneration, than those who composed the congress of 1776; and 
npon whom devolved the important p>olitical duty of severing the ties, which 
br/und the colonics to the mother countrV' The lives oi this illustrious 
band, we here present to our readers. Altnough the author regrets that his 
matcriaL) were not more abundant, he indulges the hope, that the subsequent 
pages will not be found devoid of interest. Even an unadorned recital of 
the virtues, which adorned the subjects of these memoirs ; the piety of some 
—the patriotism and constancy and courage of them all — can scarcely fail of 
imparling a useful lesson to our readers. The obligations to cherish their 
memory, and to follow their example will be felt ; nor can our readers fail 
to reaJue the debt of gratitude we owe in common, to that benignant pro- 
vidence, who £ttcd these men for the important work which was assigned 

All the material facts, recorded in the following pages, the author has 
rcoeon to believe are authentic, and entitled to credibility. Most of them 
are matters of public record. Some of the sketches will indeed be found to 
contain but few incidents ; because, in re8j)ect to a jxjrtion of the sicrners, 
but few existed ; and, in r<»pect to others, the accurate knowledge of them 
has been irrevocably lost. The sources from which he has drawn the materi- 
ab of the volume are too numerous to be particularly mentioned in this place; 
yet be would be doin^ injustice, not to express his special obligations to the 
authors of the following works : viz. Pitkin's Political and Civil History of 
the United States, Noru American Review, Walsh's Appeal, Marshall's Lifs 


of Wtahinfitoiij Botta's History of the Revolution, ADen's Biographical md 
Historical Dictiouary, Bio^raphv of the Signers to the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, Thatcher's Medical biograpli j, Austin's Life of Gerry, Tudor's 
Life of Otis, Witlicrspoon's Works, Select Eulogies, dc<c &>c. 

While writing the following biographical notices of the signers to the 
declaration, the author has been struck with their longevity^ as a body of 
men. They were fifty-six in number ; and the average Icn^h of their fives 
was about sixty- five years. Four of the number attained to the age of 
ninety years, and upwards; fourteen exceeded eighty years; and twenty- 
three, or one in two and a half^ reached three score j^cara and ten. The lon- 
gevity of the New-England delegation, was still more remarkable. Their 
ftumljer was fourteen, the average of whose lives was seventy-five years. 
Who will affirm that the unusual age to which the sicrncrs, as a body, attaix^ 
od, was not a reward bestowed upon them, for their fidelity to their country, 
and the trust which they in general reposed in the overruling providence of 
God. Who can doubt the kindness of that Providence to the American 
people, in thus prolonging the lives of these men, till the principles for which 
they had contended, through a long series of years, had oeen acknowledged, 
ana a government had been found^ upon them 7 

Of this venerable bod^t not a single one survives— They are now no 
more. "1*1167 are no more, as in 1776^ bold and fearless advocates of inde- 
pendence, llicy are dead. But how little is there of the great and good 
which can die. To their coimtry they yet live, and live for ever, Theyliv<^ 
in aU that perpetuates the remembrance of men on earth ; in the recorded 
proofs of their own great actions, in the offspring' of their intellect, in the 
deep engraved lines of public gratitude, and in the respect and homaffc of 
mankind. They live in their example ; and they live, emphatically, and will 
live, in the influence which their lives and efforts, their principles and 
opinions, now exercise, and will continue to exercise, on the afiairs of men, 
not only in our own country, but throughout the civilized world." 

" It remains to us to cherish their memory, and emulate their virtues, by 
perpetuat^ig and extending the blessings which they have bet^ueathed. So 
long as w preserve our country, their uune cannot die, for it is reflected 
from the surface of every thing that is beautiful and valuable in our land. 
We cannot recur too often, nor dwell too long, upon the lives and character! 
of such men; for our own will take somethinfi* of their form and impression 
from those on which they rest. If we inhale toe moral atmooahere in which 
they moved, we must feel its purifying and invigorating influence. If we 
raise our thoughts to their elevation, our minds will be expanded and en- 
nobled, in beholding the inuneasurablo distance beneath and around us, 
* Can we breathe the pure mountain air, and not be refreihed ; can we walk 
abroad amidst the beautiful and the grand of the works of creation, and feel 
no kinnung of devotion? ' 


lotrodnciiq^ ---- 7 


John Hancock, 71 

Samuel Adami^ ----------. 81 

John Adamsi -----.----- fS 

Robert Treat Paine^ 112 

EIbridg« Gerry, 120 


Jonah Bartlett, -131 

William Whipple, 139 

Matthew Thornton, 143 


Stephen Hopkinfl, 149 

William EUery, 163 


Roger Sherman, ---------. 168 

Samuel Huntington, ---------- 169 

William Williama, 174 

Oliver Wolcott, 179 


WiUiam Floyd, 181 

Pliilip Livingston -.------ 186 

Francis Lewis, ---------- 193 

Lewis Morris, ----------- 197 

Henry Misner, (See note, page 183.) 


Richard Stockton, 204 

John Witherspoon, -•••-----• 211 

Francis Hopklnson, •--•---•-- 222 

John Hart, ----•-...•- 226 
Abraham Clark, ..-•.. ---230 


Robert Morris, -233 

Benjamin Ruah, -•.---• • 244 


Bcnjunio PnnkliI^ 

John Morton, 

George Roi, 

CniBT Rodiiay, ....... 

George Read, •-...... 

noaus M'Seao, ....... 

auMiel ChM^ ---•.... 


DwiiiBa Stone, --...... 

CfatrleaCu-roll, - . . . ... 

GeOTgeWjthe, ........ 

Riclisrd Heiuy Lee, ....... 

Thomu JeflbraoD, -■■•.■■ 
B«Dj(uniii Han-iaon, .--.... 

HoDiA* Nelfon, Jus. ■.....- 

Francie Lightioot Lcc^ ...... 


waiiun Hooper, 
Jowph Hewei^ • 

Mill PtBIt, 


TlwmH Hejward, 

Arthur MiddletoD, 

Button (iwinnett, 
Ifjmui Hall, 
Gaarg« Wahon, 



twMABT OP amrre which lbd to thb dbolaratioh of 


The renerated emigrants who first planted America, ana 
most of their distinguished successors who laid the founda- 
tion of our civil liberty, hare found a resting place in the 
peaceful grare. But the virtues which adorned both these 
generations ; their patience in days of suffering ; the courage 
and patriotic zeal with which they asserted their rights ; and 
the wisdom they displayed in laying the foundaticms of our 
government ; will be held in lasting remembrance. 

It has, indeed, been said, that the settlement of America, 
and the history of her revolution, are becoming **a trite 
theme." The remark is not founded in truth. Too weU 
does the present generation appreciate the excellence of 
those men, who guided th^ destinies of our country in days 
of bitter trial ; too well does it estimate the glorious events, 
which have exalted these United States to their present ele- 
vation, ever to be weary of the pages which shall record the 
virtues of the one, and the interesting character of the oiheif 

The minuter portions of our history, and the humbler 
men who have acted a part therein, must, perhaps, pass into 
oblivion. But the more important transactions, and the more 
distinguished characters, instead of being lost to the remem- 
brance and affections of posterity, will be the more regarded 
and admired the farther *• we roll down the tide of time." 
Indeed, ** an event of real magnitude in human history,*' as 
a recent literary journal has well observed, " is never seen, 
in all its grandeur and importance, till some time after its oc- 
currence has elapsed. In proportion as the memory of small 



men, and small things, is lost, that of the truly great becomes 
more bright. The contemporary aspect of things is often 
confused and indistinct The eye, which is placed too near 
the canvass, beholds, too distinctly, the separate touches of 
the pencil, and is perplexed with a cloud of seemingly dis- 
cordant tints. It is only at a distance, that they melt into a 
harmonious, living picture.** 

Nor does .t detract from the honour of the eminent person 
ages, who were conspicuous in the transactions of our ear- 
lier history, that they foresaw not all the glo'Kous consequences 
of their actions. Not one of our pilgrim fathers, it may be 
safely conjectured, had a distinct anticipation of the future 
progress of our country. Neither Smith, Newport, nor 
Gosnold, who led the emigrants of the south ; nor Carver, 
Brewster, Bradford, or Standish, who conducted those of 
the north ; looked forward to results like those which are 
witnessed by the present generation. But is the glory of 
their enterprise thereby diminished ? By no means ; it shines 
with an intenser light. They foresaw nothing with certainty, 
but hardships and sacrifices. These, they deliberately and 
manfully encountered. They went forward unassured, that 
eren common prosperity would attend their enterprise 
They breasted themselves to every shock ; as did the vessel 
which bore them, to the waves of the ocean. 

Or, to take an example which has a more direct reference 
to the work before us ; it may be fairly conjectured, that not 
a member of the illustrious assembly that declared the Inde 
pendence of America, had any adequate oonception of the 
great events which were disclosed in the next half century. 
But, will this detract fropi their merit in the estimation of 
posterity ? again we say, it will enhance that merit. In the 
great national crisis of 1TT5, the minds of the leading men were 
wrought up to the highest pitch of fervour. They glowed 
with the loftiest enthusiasm. The future was, indeed, in- 
distinct ; but it was full of all that was momentous. ^Vhat 
the particular consummation would be, they could not foresee. 
But conscious of their own magnanimous designs, and in a 
humble reliance on divine providence, they pledged to each 


Other, their lires, their fortunes, and their sacred honour, 
either to die in the assertion of their unalienable rights, or 
to establish American liberty upon a solid foundation. The 
merit of these men, and of all who contributed to the happy 
condition of our republic, should be measured, by the gran- 
deur of the actual consequences of their enterprise, although 
the precise extent of those consequences could not then hare 
been foreseen.* 

In a work, whose professed object is, to speak of men 
who lired and flourished in the days of our revolutionary 
struggle, we hare little to do with the motives which indu- 
ced the first settlers of our country to seek an asylum in what 
was then an unexplored wilderness. Nor is this the place to 
record the thousand sufferings which they endured, before 
the era of their landing ; or their numberless sorrows and 
deprivations, while establishing themselves in the rude land 
of their adoption. The heroic and christian virtues of our 
fathers will occupy a conspicuous page in history, while the 
world shall stand. 

Nor does it belong to our design, to enter minutely into 
the early history of the colonies, interesting as that history 
is. An outline, only, will be necessary, to understand the 
causes of that memorable event in the history of our coun- 
try — The Declaration of American Independence — and to 
introduce to our more particular notice, the eminent men 
who proclaimed that independence to the world. 

The year 1607 is the era of the first settlement of the En- 
glish in America. During the interval between this date, 
and the year 1732, thirteen colonies were established ; Vir- 
ginia being the first, and Georgia the last. The others were 
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New-Hampshire, Rhode Island, 
New- York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, 
and the two Carolines. 

In the settlement of these colonics, three forms of govern- 
ment were established. These were severally denominated, 
charter, proprietary, and royal governments, lliis differ 

* North American Renew. 



ence arose from the different circumstances which attended' 
the settlement of different colonies, and the dirersified yiewv' 
of the early emigrants. The charter governments were con- 
fined to New-England. The proprietary governments were- 
those of Maryland, Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, and the Jer- 
sies. The two former remained such, until the American re^ 
volution ; the two latter became royal governments long be* 
fore that period. In the charter governments, the people en- 
joyed the privileges and powers of self government ; in the 
proprietary governments these privileges ancl powers were ves t-' 
ed in the proprietor, but he was required to have the admce% ■ 
assent^ and approbation of the greater part of the freemen, or 
their deputies ; in the royal governments, the governor and 
council were appointed by the crown, and the people elect* 
ed representatives to serve in the colonial legislatures.* 

Under these respective forms of government, the colonists 
might have enjoyed peace, and a good share of liberty, had 
human nature been of a different character. But all the co* 
lonies were soon more or less involved in troubles of vari- 
ous kinds, arising, in part, from the indefinite tenor of the 
charter and proprietary grants ; but more than all, from the 
early jealousy which prevailed in the mother country with 
respect to the colonies, and the fixed determination of the 
crown to keep them in humble subjection to its authority. 

The colonies, with the exception of Georgia, had all been 
established, and had attained to considerable strength, with- 
out even the slightest aid from the parent country. What- 
ever was expended in the acquisition of territory firom the 
Indians, proceeded from the private resources of the Euro- 
pean adventurers. Neither the crown, nor the parliament 
of England, made any compensation to the original masters 
of the soil; nor did they in any way contribute to those im- 
provements which so soon bore testimony to the industry and 
intelligence of the planters. The settlement of the province 
of Massachusetts Bay alone cost 200,000Z. ; — an enormous 
sum at that period. Lord Baltimore expended iOjQOOl^ for ' 

i]rTRODucno]r« 11 

bia contingent, in the establishment of bis colony in Mary^ 
knd. On that of Virginia, immense wealth was kvished ( 
and we are told by Trumbull, that the first planters of Con- 
necticut consumed great estates in purchasing lands from the 
Indians, and making their settlements in that province, in ad* 
dition to large sums previously expended in the procuring of 
iheir patents, and of the rights of pre-emption.* 

It is conceded by historians of every party, that from the 
earliest settlements in America, to the period of the'revolu* 
tion, the parent country, so far as her own unsettled state 
would permit, pursued towards those settlements a course 
of direct oppression. Without the enterprise to establish co« 
lonies herself, she was ready, in the very dawn of their exist- 
ence, to claim them as her legitimate possessions, and to pre- 
scribe, in almost every minute particular, the policy Uiey 
ehould pursue. Her jealousies, coeval with the foundation 
of the colonies, increased with every succeeding year ; and 
led to a course of arbitrary exactions, and lordly oppressions, 
which resulted in the rupture of those ties that bound the 
colonies to the parent country. 

No sooner did the colonies, emerging from the feebleness 
and poverty of their incipient state, begin to direct their at- 
tention to commerce and manufactures, than they were sub- 
jected by the parent country to many vexatious regulations, 
which seemed to indicate, that with regard to those subjects, 
they were expected to follow that line of policy, which she 
in her wisdom should mark out for them. At every indica- 
tion of colonial prosperity, the complaints of the commercial 
and the manufacturing interests in Great Britain were loud 
and clamourous, and repeated demands were made upon the 
British government, to correct the growing evil, and to keep 
the colonies in due subjection. '* The colonists," said the 
complainants, " are beginning to carry on trade ; — they will 
soon be our formidable rivals : they are already setting up 
manufactures ; — they will soon set up for independence.' 

To the increase of this feverisn excitement in the parent 

• Wakh 


eountiy, the English writers of those days contributed not a 
Kttle. As early as 1670, in a work, entitled, *< Discoorse on, 
Trade,^ published by Sir Josiah Child, is the following Ian 
guage, which expresses the prevailing opinion of the day t 
**New England is the most prejudicial plantation to thisking^ 
dom" — '*of all the American plantations, his majesty hat 
none so apt for the building of, shipping, as New-England* 
nor any comparably so qualified for the breeding of seamen, 
not only by reason of the natural industry of that people, 
but principally by reason of their cod and mackerel fishe- 
ries ; and, in my poor opinion, there is nothing more prejudi* 
cial, and in prospect, more dangerous to any mother kingdom, 
than the increase of shipping in her colonies^ plantations^ and 

By another writer of still more influence and celebrity. 
Dr. Davenant, the idea of colonial dependence^ at which Sir 
Josiah Child had hinted, was broadly asserted. ** Colonies," 
he writes, **are a strength to their mother country, while they 
are under good discipline ; while they are strictly made to 
observe the fundamental laws of the original country ; and 
while they are kept dependant on it But, otherwise, they 
are worse than members lopped from the body politic ; be* 
ing, indeed, like oiSensive arms wrested from a nation, to be 
turned against it, as occasion shall serve." 

To the colonists, however, the subject presented itself in 
a very difierent light They had spontaneously planted them- 
selves on these shores, which were then desolate. They had 
asked no assistance from the government of Great Britain ; 
nor had they drawn from her exchequer a single pound, du- 
ring all the feebleness and imbecility of their infancy. And 
now, when they were beginning to emerge from a state of 
poverty and depression, which for years they had sustained 
without complaint, they very naturally supposed that they 
had a right to provide for their own interests. 

It was not easy for them to see by what principle their re- 
moval to America should deprive them of the rights of En- 
glishmen. It was difficult for them to comprehend the justice 
of restrictions so materially difiierent from those at **home;* 


or why they might not equally with their elder brethren in 
England, seek the best markets for their products, and, like 
them, manu&ctnre such articles as were within their powei^ 
and essential to their comfort 

But the selfish politicians of England, and her still more 
selfish merchants and manufacturers, thought not so. A dif- 
ferent doctrine was accordingly advanced, and a dififerent 
policy pursued. Acts were, therefore, early passed, restrict- 
ing the trade with the plantations, as well as with other parts 
of the world, to English-built ships, belonging to the subjects 
of England, or to her plantations. Not contented with thus 
confining the colonial export trade to the parent countryi 
parliament, in 1663, limited the import trade in the same 

These acts, indeed, left free the trade and intercourse be- 
tween the colonies. But even this privilege remained to them 
only a short period. In 1672, certain colonial products, trans- 
ported from one colony to another, were subjected to duties. 
White sugars were to pay five shillings, and brown sugars 
3ne shilling and sixpence, per hundred ; tobacco and indigo 
ine penny, and cotton wool a half-penny, per pound. 

The colonists deemed these acts highly injurious to their 
interest. They were deprived of the privilege of seeking 
the best market for their products, and of receiving, in ex- 
change, the articles they wanted, without being charged the 
additional expense of a circuitous route through England, 
fhe acts themselves were considered by some as a violation 
of their charter rights ; and in Massachusetts, they were, for 
a long time, totally disregarded. 

The other colonies viewed thein in the same light. Virgi- 
nia presented a petition for their repeal ; Rhode Island de- 
clared them unconstitutional, and contrary to their charter. 
The Carolines, also, declared them not less grievous and 

The disregard of these enactments on the part of the co- 
lonies— « disregard which sprung from a firm conviction of 
their illegal and oppressive character — occasioned loud an I 
clamorous complaints in England. The revenue, it was urged 


would be mjnred ; and the dependance of the colonies on 
die parent country would, in time, be totally destroy- 
ed. A stronger language was, therefore, held towards the 
colonies, anii stronger measures adopted, to enforce the 
existing acts of navigation. The captains of his majesty's 
frigates were instructed to seize, and bring in, offenders who 
aroided making entries in England. The naval officers were 
required to give bonds for the faithful performance of their 
duties ; the custom house officers in America were clothed 
with extraordinary powers ; and the governors, for neglect 
of watchfulness on these points, were not only to be removed 
from office, and rendered incapable of the government of any 
colony, but also to forfeit one thousand pounds. 

A similar sensibility prevailed, on the subject of manufac* 
tares. For many years after their settlement, the colonists 
were too much occupie4 in subduing their lands to engage in 
manufactures. When, at length, they turned their atteotion 
to them, the varieties were few, and of a coarse and imper- 
fect texture. But even these were viewed with a jealous eye. 
In 1699, commenced a systematic course of restrictions on 
colonial manufactures, by an enactment of parliament, *' that 
no wool, yam, or woollen manufactures of their American 
plantations, should be shipped there, or even laden, in order 
to be transported thence to any place whatever." 

Other acts followed, in subsequent years, having for their 
object the suppression of manufactures in. America, and the 
continued dependaTice of the colonies on the parent country. 
In 1719, the house of commons declared, *' that the erecting 
of manufactories in the colonies, tended to lessen their de- 
pendance upon Great Britain." In 1731, the board of trade 
reported to the house of commons, '* that there are more 
trades carried on, and marufactures set up, in the provinces 
on the continent of America, to the northward of Virginia, 
prejudicial to the trade and manufactures of Great Britain* 
particularly in New-England, than in any other of the Bri* 
tish colonies;" and hence they suggested, *' whether it 
might not be expedient," in order to keep the colonies pro* 
perly dependant upon the parent country, and to render her 


Httnuftactores of service to Great Britcdn^ ** to give those co- 
lonies some encouragement.*' 

From the London company of hatters loud complaints 
were made to parliamentf and suitable restrictions demandedy 
upon the exportation of hats, which being manufactured in 
New-England, were exported to Spain, Portugal, and the 
British West India islands, to the serious injury of their 
trade. In consequence of these representations, the expor- 
tation of hats from the colonies to foreign countries, and 
from one plantation to another, was prohibited; and even 
restraints, to a certain extent, were imposed on their manu* 
frcture. In 1732 it was enacted, that hats should neither be 
shipped, nor even laden upon a horse, cart, or other carriage, 
with a view to transportation to any other colony, or to any 
place whatever. Nay, no hatter should employ more than 
two apprentices at once, nor make hats, unless he had served 
as an apprentice to the trade seven years ; and, finally, that 
no black or negro should be allowed to work at the business 
at all. 

The complaints and the claims of the manufacturers of 
iron were of an equally selfish character. The colonists 
might reduce the iron ore into pigs — they might convert it 
into bars — it might be furnished them duty free ; but they must 
have the profit of manufacturing it, beyond this incipient 
4tage. Similar success awaited the representations and peti- 
tions of the manufacturers of iron. In the year 1750, par- 
liament allowed the importation of pig and bar iron from 
the colonies, into London, duty free; but prohibited the 
•rection or continuance of any milU or other engine, for 
flitting or rolling iron, or any plating forge to work with 
a tilt-hammer, or any furnace for making steel, in the colo- 
oies, under the penalty of two hundred pounds. Moreover, 
every such mill, engine, or plating forge, was declared a com- 
mon nuisance ; and the governors of the colonies, on the 
information of two witnesses, on oath, were directed to cause 
the same to be abated within thirty days, or to forfeit the 
som of five hundred pounds. 

But if the colonists had just reason to complain on account 



of the abore reBtrictions and prohibitioni,— -u being ei- 
tremely oppressiTe in themselvea, and a plain violation of 
their rights ; — some of them were equally misused with re 
apect to their charters. 

The charter goTernments, it has already been observed, 
vere confiiAd to the colonies of New-England. These 
charters had been granted by the crown in different years ; and, 
under them, were exercised the powers of civil government 

Great difference of opinion early existed between the 
crown and the colonists, as to the nature, extent, and obliga- 
tions of these instruments. By the crown, they were viewed 
u constituting petty corporations, similar to those established 
in England, which might be annulled or revoked at pleasure. 
To the colonists, on the other hand, they appeared as sacred 
snd solemn compacts between themselves and the king ; 
which could not be altered, either by the king or parliament, 
without a forfeiture on the part of the colonists. The only 
limitation to the legislative power conferred by these char- 
ters, was, that the laws made under their authority should 
not be repugnant to those of England, 

Among the colonists, there prevailed no disposition to 
transcend the powers, or abuse the privileges, which had 
been granted them. They, indeed, regarded the charters as 
irrevocable, so long as they suitably acknowledged their own 
allegiance to the crown, agd confined themselves to the 
rights with which they were invested. But, at length, the 
king seems to have repented of these extensive grants of 
political power; and measures were adopted agsin to attach 
the government of the charter colonies to the royal prero- 

Accordingly, writs were issued against the several New- 
England colonies, at different times, requiring them to sur- 
render these instruments into the royal hands. To thia 
measure the strongest repugnance every where prevailed. 
It was like a surrender of life. It was a blow aimed at their 
dearest rights — an annihilation of that peace and liberty, 
which had been secured to them by the most solemn and in- 
violable compact. 


With views and sentiments like these, the colonists stippli- 
eated the royal permission, " to remain as they were.'* They 
reminded his majesty of the sacred nature of their charters , 
they appealed to the laws which they had passed, — to the in- 
stitutions they had founded, — to the reflations they had 
adopted, — ^in the spirit of which, there was not to he seen any 
departure from the powers with which they were invested. 
And they therefore humhly claimed the privilege of exerci'* 
sing these powers, with an assurance of their unalterahle alle* 
giance to the English crown. 

In an address to his majesty, from the colony of Massachusetts^ 
styled, " the humble supplication of the general court of the 
Massachusetts colony in New-£ngland," the following Ian* 
guage was adopted — ^language as honourable to the colonists* 
as the sentiments are tender and affecting. '' Let our govern* 
ment live, our patent live, our magistrates live, our laws and 
liberties live, our religious enjoyments live, so shall we all 
yet have further cause to say from our hearts, let the king live 
forever ; — and the blessings of those ready to perish shall 
come upon your majesty ; having delivered the poor that 
cried, and such as had none to help them." 

The king, however, would listen to no arguments, and 
would admit of no appeal. A strong jealousy had taken 
possession of his breast, and had as firmly seated itself in the 
hearts of his ministry. The tree, planted by the colordsts, 
fostered by their care, and watered by their tears, was taking 
too deep root, and spreading forth its branches too broadly. 
Its fall was determined upon, and too successfully was the 
axe applied. 

The charters being in effect set aside ; those of Rhode Is- 
land and Connecticut being considered as surrendered, and 
that of Massachusetts having been violently wrested from 
her; the king, at that time James XL, appointed Sir Edmund 
Andros governor-general of New-England. In December* 
16S6, he arrived in Boston, and published his commission. 

The administration of Andros efi^ected no inconsiderable 
change in the condition of New-England. For sixty years 
the people had lived happily, under constitutions and laws of 
C 2* 


their own adoption. Amidst the triab and anfferings which 
had &l]en to their lot, while settling and subduing a wilder* 
ness, the priyilege of self-goyemment was one of their chief 
eonsolations. But now, deprived of this privilege, and sub- 
iected to the arbitrary laws, and cruel rapacity of Andros, a 
deep gloom spread over the whole territory of New-England* 

*' One of his first despotic acts,*' says a late interesting 
writer,* *' was to place the press under censorship. Magis- 
trates alone were permitted to solemnize marriages, and no 
marriages were allowed, until bonds, with sureties, were 
given to the governor, to be forfeited, if any lawful impediment 
should afterwards appear. No man could remove fi-om the 
cduntry without the consent of the governor. 

^ Fees of office, particularly in matters of probate, were 
exorbitant ; — ^towns were not permitted to hold meetings but 
once a year, and then for the sole purpose of electing offi- 
eers ; — all former grants of lands were considered invalid, 
either because they were rendered void by the destruction of 
the charters under which they were made, or were destitute 
of the formality of a seal. The people were, therefore, 
obliged to take out new patents for their lands and houses, 
and to pay enormous patent fees, or suffer them to be grant- 
ed to others, and they themselves ejected from their hard 
earned possessions. 

**In addition to this, taxes were imposed at the will of the 
governor-general and a few of his council ; nor had the poor 
New-Englanders even the privilege of complaining, and claim- 
ing the rights of Englishmen, without being liable to fine and 
imprisonment. These taxes the governor and council, by 
their act, assessed upon the several towns, and directed^ each 
town to appoint a commissioner, who, with the select men, 
was ordered to assess the same on the individual inhabitants. 
The citizens of the old town of Ipswich, at a meeting called 
for the purpose of carrying this act into efiect, declared, that, 
••considering the said act doth infringe their liberty, as/ree 
bom JBi^Uah subjects of his majesty, by interfering with the 

♦ PHkiiu 

iirrKOBvonoir. N 

statute laws of the land, by which it is enacted, that no taxes 
should be leried upon the subjects, without the consent of ao 
assembly chosen by the freemen for assessing the same ; thejir 
do, therefore, vote, they are not willing to choose a commis* 
aioner for such an end, without such privilege ; and, moreo* 
Ter, consent not that the select men do proceed to lay any 
sn^h rate, until it be appointed by a general assembly, con- 
curring with the governor and council." 

M The minister of the town, John Wise, together with John 
Appleton, John Andrews, Robert JBonsman, William Good- 
hue, and Thomas French, were active in procuring this patrio- 
tic resolution ; and for this, they were inmiediately brought 
before the governor and council at Boston ; and soon after 
tried before the star chamber judges, Dudley, Stoughton, 
Usher, and Randolph, and a packed jury. In his examination 
before the council, M^* Wise, claiming the privilege of an 
English subject, was told by one of the judges, ' he had no 
more privilege left him^ than not to be sold for a slave.^ 

** Wise was imprisoned by the governor general ; and the 
judges refused him the privilege of the writ of habeas 

*< On their trial, they defended themselves under magna 
charta, and the statutes, which solemnly secured to every 
British subject his property and estate. The judges, how- 
ever, told them, ' they must not think the laws of England 
followed them to the ends of the earth, or wherever they 
went;' and they were in a most arbitrary manner con- 

** Mr. Wise was suspended from his ministerial functions, 
fined 502., and compelled to give a bond of lOOOZ. for his 
good behaviour ; and the others were also subjected to fines, 
and obliged to give bonds of a similar nature." 

Such is an outline of the despotic acts, during the odious 
idministration of Andros. To these the people of New- 
England were obliged to submit, without the prospect of any 
alleviation of their condition. 

Relief^ however, was near at hand. At this important 
crisis in the affairs of the colonies, an event transpired which 


lelieyed them in a measure from the perplexities in which 
they were involved, and from the oppressions under which 
they groaned. The bigotted James II., by his acts of des- 
potism, had become justly odious to all the subjects of his 
realm. So great was the excitement of public indignatioD, 
that the king was compelled to flee, in disgrace, from the 
kingdom; and his son-in-law, William, Prince of Oranget 
was invited to assume the crown. 

The news of this event (1689) spread unusual joy through- 
out the colonies. In the height of their animation, the in- 
habitants of Boston seized Sir Edmund Andros, with fifty of 
his associates, and put them in close confinement, until he 
was ordered back to Great Britain. Connecticut and Rhode 
Island immediately resumed their charters, and re-established 
their former government. Massachusetts soon after obtained 
a new charter, which, however, failed to secure to the colony 
many rights, which they had enjoyed under the provisions 
of the former one; but which was finally accepted by a 
majority of the general court Each of the colonics con- 
tinued to exercise its government till the year 1775. In 
Rhode Island, the ancient charter is the only constitution at 
the present time ; and in Connecticut, the charter was con- 
tinued until the year 1818, when a new constitution was 
adopted by the people. 

The grateful relief experienced by the colonies on the 
accession of William, was, however, of temporary continu- 
ance. Through other channels, trouble and distress were to 
be conveyed to them. From the above year (1689) to the 
peace of Paris 1763, the colonies, from New-Hampshire to 
Georgia, were engaged in almost unremitting hostilities with 
the aborigines on their borders. Their whole western fron- 
tier was a scene of havoc and desolation. During this long 
series of years, they were obliged to bear the '* unworthy as- 
persion," as Dummer justly entitles it, of exciting these Indian 
wars ; and of acquiring the dominion of the Indian territory 
by fraud, as well as by force. 

To these trials were added others, which proceeded from 
the parent country. Disputes were frequently arising, as 


heretofore, between the crown and the colonies, respecting 
the powers conferred by the charters. Claims were set up, 
by Uie king and council, to the right of receiving and hear- 
ing appeals from the colonial courts, in priyate suits ; and, 
at length, a serious and protracted controversy arose in those 
colonies, whose governors were appointed by royal autho- 
rity, from a requisition of the king that a fixed and per^ 
vument salary should be provided for the representatives of 
the crown. This was a favourite project of the king, as it 
carried the show of authority on the part of the royal go- 
vernment, and of dependence on the part of the colonies^ 
and it was an object of no less importance to the governors 
themselves, the most of whom were sent to America to 
repair fortunes which had been ruined by extravagance at 

The disputes on this subject, in the province of Massft 
chuaetts, lasted thirty years. The assembly of that colony 
were ready to make grants for the support of their governors, 
from year to year, as they had been accustomed to do, under 
their charter government ; but no menaces could induce them 
to establish a permanent salary. At length, satisfied that the 
house would never yield, the crown allowed their governors 
to ratify temporary grants. 

Another grievance which the colonies suffered during this 
period, and of which they had reason loudly to complain, 
was the conduct of the parent country, in transporting to 
America those persons, who for their crimes had forfeited 
their liberty and lives in Great Britain, \arious acts of par- 
liament authorized this measure ; and hence the country was 
becoming the asylum of the worst of felons. The conduct of 
the parent country, in thus sending the pestilential inmates of 
her prisons to the colonies, met with their strong and univer- 
sal abhorrence ; nor was this abhorrence lessened by the rea- 
sons assigned, beyond the waters, for the practice, viz* 
" that in many of his majesty's colonies and plantations, there 
was a great want ofservants, who, by their labour and indus- 
try, might be the means of improving, and making the said 
colonies more useful to his majesty .'" 


" Very surprising," remarks ao independent, and even elo 
qaent writer of those Umes, "very surprising that thicTetf 
burgkrs, pick-pockets, and cut-purses, and a horde of the 
raost flagitious banditti upon earth, should be sent as agreea- 
He companitnts to us I That the supreme legislature did intend 
K transportation to America as a punishinent, I verily b^ 
liere ; but so great is the mistake, that confident I am, they 
are thereby on the contrary highly rewarded. For what can 
be more agreeable to a penurious wretch, driren through ne- 
cessity to seek a lirelihood by the breaking of houses and 
robbing upon the king's highway, than to be saved from the 
halter, redeemed from the stench of a gaol, and transported, 
without expense to himself, into a country, where, being un- 
known, no man can reproach him for his crimes ; where la- 
bour ishigh, a littleof which will maintain him; and where all 
hifl expense swill be moderate andlow. There is scarce a thiei 
in England that would not rather be transported than hanged." 

*' But the acts," continues the same writer, " are intended for 
the better peopling of the colonies. And will thieves and 
murderers conduce to that end? what advantage can we reap 
from a colony of unre 8 trainable renegadoes I will they exalt 
the glory of the crown T or rather will not the dignity of the 
most illustrious monarch in the world be sullied by a province 
of subjects so lawless, detestable, and ignorant ! can agricul- 
ture be promoted, when the wild boar of the forest breaks 
down OUT hedges, and pulls up our vines? will trade Sourish, 
or manufactures be encouraged, where property is made the 
spoil of such, who are too idle to work, and wicked enough 
to murder and steal T — How injurious does it seem to free 
one part of the dominions from the plagues of mankind, and 
cast them upon another ! We want people, 'tis true ; but not 
villains, ready at any time, encouraged by impunity, and ha< 
txtuated, upon the slightest occasion, to cut a man's throat for 
a small part of his property." 

To this catalogue of grievances, not imaginary, but real \ 
not transient, but long continued ; not local, but mostly uni- 
versal \ — many others might be added, did our limitspermibj 

Bat under tUl these oppressions, amidst obstinate and t~ — 


hons efforts of the crown, to extend the royal prerogatiye, 
and to keep the colonies in humble dependence, they retained, 
in general, a warm affection for the parent country. They re- 
garded the soYereign as a father, and themselves as children. 
They acknowledged their obligations of obedience to him, in 
all things which were lawful, and consistent with their natural 
and unalienable rights ; and they appealed to him in yarious 
disputes, which arose about colonial rights, limits, and juris- 

It was a characteristic trait in the colonists to provide for 
their own defence. They had been taught to do this by the 
neglect of the parent country, from the very days of their in- 
^cy — even before the problem was solved, whether the 
country should longer continue the domain of pagan dark* 
ness, or the empire of cultivated mind. They might, indeed 
justly have claimed the assistance and protection of the land 
of th^ir birth, but seldom did they urge their rights. On the 
contrary, their treasuries were often emptied, and the blood 
of their yeomanry shed, in furnishing assistance to the parent 
country. In her contests, and her wars, they engaged with all 
the enthusiasm of her native sons ; and persevered with aU 
the bravery of soldiers trained to the art of war. 

The testimony to be adduced in support of these statements, 
is more ample than we have space to devote to it. " When- 
ever," said a conspicuous member of parliament, some years 
after the peace of 1763, "whenever Great Britain has de- 
dared war, the colonies have taken their part : They were 
engaged in King William's wars, and Queen Anne's wars, 
even in their infancy. They conquered Arcadia, in the last 
century, for us ; and we then gave it up. Again, in Queen 
Anne's war, they conquered Nova Scotia, which from that 
dme has belonged to Great Britain. They have been engaged 
m more than one expedition to Canada, ever foremost to par- 
take of honour and danger with the mother country. 

" Well, sir, what have we done for them ? Have we con- 
quered the country for them, from the Indians ? Have we 
cleared it? Have we drained it ? Have we made it habita- 
ble! What have we done for them? I believe precisely 


nothing at all, but just keeping watch and toard over their 
tradct that they should receive nothing but from ourselves f at 
our own price* 

** I will not positively say, that we have spent nothing ; 
though I don't recollect any such article upon our journals ; 
I mean any national expense in setting them out as colonists. 
The ro3ral military government of Nova Scotia cost, indeed, 
not a little sum; above 500,000/. for its plantations and its 
first years. Had your other colonies cost any thing similar, 
either in their outset or support, there would be something to 
■ay on that side ; but instead of that, they have been left to 
themselves, for one hundred, or one hundred and fiflty years, 
upon the fortune and capital of private adventurers, to en- 
counter every difficulty and danger. What towns have we 
built for them ! What forests have we cleared ? What country 
have we conquered for them from the Indians ? Name the 
officers — name the troops — the expeditions — ^their dates. — 
Where are they to be found ? Not on the journals of this 
kingdom. They are no where to be found. 

" In all the wars, which have been common to us and them, 
they have taken their full share. But in all their own dangers, 
in the difficulties belonging separately to their situation, in 
all the Indian wars, which did not immediately concern us, 
we left them to themselves, to struggle their way through. 
For the whim of a minister, you can bestow half a million to 
build a town, and to plant a royal colony of Nova Scotia ; a 
greater sum than you have bestowed upon every other colony 

*' And, notwithstanding all these, which are the real &cts, 
now that they have struggled through their difficulties, and 
begin to hold up their heads, and to shew an empire, which 
promises to be foremost in the world, we claim them, and 
theirs, as implicitly belonging to us, without any conside- 
ration of their own rights. We charge them with ingrati- 
tude^ without the least regard to truth, just as if this kingdom 
had for a century and a half attended to no other subject ; as 
if all our revenue, all our power, all our thought, had been 
bestowed upon them, and all our national debt had been con- 


^ acted in the Indian wars of America ; totally forgetting the 
sttbordinaiion in commerce and manufactures in which we 
hare bound them« and for which, at least, we owe them help 
towards their protection. 

** Look at the preamble of the act of navigation, and every 
other American act, and see if the interest of thds country ia 
not the avowed object. If they make a hat, or a piece of 
steel, an act of parliament calls it a nuisance ; a tilting ham- 
mer, a steel furnace, must be abated in America, as a nui« 
sauce. Sir, I speak from facts. I call your books of statutes 
and journals to witness." 

Of an equally high and honourable character, is the testi* 
mony of Pounal, one of the royal goremors in America. ** I 
profess," said he, in 1766, ^ an affection for the colonies, be« 
cause, having lived amongst those people in a private as well 
IS in a public character, I know them ; I know that in their 
private, social relations, there is not a more friendly, and in 
their political ones, a more zealously loyal people, in all his 
majesty's dominions. When fairly and openly dealt with, 
there ia not a people who have a truer sense of the necessary 
powers of government They would sacrifice their dearest 
interests for the honour and prosperity of their mother coun- 
try. I have a right to say this, because experience has given 
me m practical knowledge, and this impression of them. 

** The duty of a colony is affection for the mother country. 
Here I may affirm, that in whatever form and temper this 
ifiection can lie in the human breast, in that form, by the 
deepest and most permanent affection, it ever did lie in the 
breast of the American people. They have no other idea of 
this country, than as their home ; they have no other word 
by which to express it ; and till of late, it has constantly been 
expressed by the name of home. That powerful affection, 
the love of our native country, which operates in every breast, 
operates in this people towards England, which they consider 
IS their native country ; nor is this a mere passive impres 
don, a mere opinion in speculation — ^it has been wrought up 
in them to a vigilant and active zeal for the service of this 

D 3 


This affection for the parent country, and derotedness to 
her interests ; this promptness to assist her, though unassisted 
by her themselves ; this liberality in emptying their treasuries, 
and shedding their blood, were felt and cherished by the colo* 
nies, before, and for years after, the peace of 1763. They 
continued to be thus cherished, and thus manifested, until 
exactions and oppressions " left not a hook to hang a doubt 
on," that they must either passively submit to the arbitrary 
impositions of a jealous and rapacious parent, or rise in 
defence of those rights, which had been given to them by the 
God of nature, in common with his other children. 

The peace of 1763, while it secured to Great Britain all the 
country east of the Missbsippi, and annihilated the French 
power in America, restored peace to the colonies, and put an 
end to the calamities of a French and Indian war, by which 
they had been harrassed for nearly a century* The joy con- 
sequent upon an event so auspicious, was universal and sincere. 
But that joy was soon to be diminished by the agitation of the 
question, in England, as to the taxation of the colonies. 

The project of laying internal taxes upon the American 
provinces, and drawing a revenue from them, had been sug- 
gested to the ministry, during the administrations of Sir Ro» 
bert Walpole and Mr. Pitt. But to these wise and sagacious 
statesmen it appeared to be a measure of doubtful right, and 
of still more doubtful policy. " I will leave the taxation of 
the Americans," said Walpole, '* for some of my successors, 
who may have more courage than I have, and are less friendly 
to commerce than I am." 

Afler the termination of the French war, the consideration 
of the subject was renewed, and that moment seized as a fa- 
vourable one, to commence the operation of the system. 
During the war, a heavy debt had been incurred by Great 
Britain, for the benefit and protection, as it was said, of the 
American colonies. It was, therefore, no more than an act 
of justice, that they should assist in the payment of that debt. 

In the winter of 1764, Lord Grenville, who had recently 
^en elevated to the premiership, announced to the agents of 
the colonies, then in England, his intention of drawing a re- 


Tenue firom them^ and that, for this purpose, he should propose, 
in the ensning session of parliament, a duty on stamps. 

This intention of the minister being communicated to the 
colonies, the whole country immediately caught the alarm. 
Not only among private citizens, but also among public and 
corporate bodies, the same feeling of indignation prevailed ; 
the same opinion of the injustice and unconstitutional charac- 
ter of the proposed measure was expressed, and the same dis- 
position to resist it exhibited. 

The house of representatives, in Massachusetts, in the fol- 
lowing June, declared, ** That the sole right of giving and 
granting the money of the people of that province, was 
vested in thenh or their representatives ; and that the imposi- 
tion of duties and taxes by the parliament of Great Britain, 
upon a people not represented in the house of commons, is 


absolutely irreconcilable with their rights. That no man can 
iustly take the property of another, without his consent; upon 
which original principles, the power of making laws for levy- 
ing taxes, one of the main pillars of the British constitution, is 
evidently founded." 

Petitions, from several of the colonies, were immediately 
prepared, and forwarded to their agents in England, to be 
presented at the approaching meeting of parliament, when 
the contemplated measure was to be brought forward. The 
language of these petitions, though respectful, was in accord- 
ance with the spirit which pervaded the country. They 
acknowledged the right of parliament to regulate trade^ but 
would not for a moment admit the existence of a right in the 
mother country, to impose duties for the purpose of a revenue. 
They did not claim this exemption as a privilege ; they 
founded it on a basis more honourable and solid ; it was chal- 
lenired as their indefeasible right. 

The above petitions reached England in season, and were 
offered to the acceptance and consideration of parliament : 
But no intreaties of the agents, could induce that body even to 
receive them; on the twofold ground, that the petitioners ques- 
tioned the right of parliament to pass the contemplated bill ; 
and, moreover, it was an ancient standing rule of the house. 

M iNTKODvcnoir. 

** Aat no petition should he received against a money bHV* 
In the house of commons, the bill passed, by the large ma- 
jority of 260 to 50. In the house of lords, the vote was nearly 
unanimous ; and on the 22d of March, (1766,) it receiyed the 
royal sanction. 

By the act thus passed, duties were imposed not only on 
most of the written instruments used in judicial and com- 
mercial proceedings ; but also upon those which were neces- 
sary in the ordinary transactions of the colonies. Deeds, in- 
dentures, pamphlets, newspapers, advertisements, almanacs, 
and even degrees conferred by seminaries of learning, were 
among the enumerated articles on which a tax was laid. 

The discussions on the above bill, before its final passage, 
were unusually animated. The principle involved in it was 
felt to be important, both by its friends and opposers ; and 
the measure was seen to be pregnant with consequences of the 
most serious nature. " It fnay be doubted," says an historian,* 
^ whether, upon any other occasion, either in times past or 
present, there has been displayed more vigour or acuteness of 
intellect, more love of country, or of party spirit, or greater 
splendour of eloquence, than in these debates. Nor was the 
shock of opinion less violent without the walls of Westmin- 
ster. All Europe, it may be said, and especially the commer- 
cial countries, were attentive to the decision of this important 

The principal supporters of the bill were Lord Grenville 
and Charles Townshend. Unfortunately for the colonies, Mr. 
Pitt, their constant friend, was absent ; being confined to his 
bed by sickness. The principal opposers, were Gen. Conway, 
Alderman Beckford, Col. Barre,Mr. Jackson, and Sir William 
Meredith. The two first of these opposed the measure on 
the ground that parliament had no right to tax the colonies ; 
the others contended that it was not expedient. 

In the conclusion of one of his speeches on the bill, Mr. 
Townshend exclaimed : " And now, will these Americans, 
planted by our care, nourished up by our indulgence, until they 

• Botta. 


are grown to a degree of strength and importancef and protected 
by our arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to re • 
lieve us from the hea^y burden we lie under ?" 

The honourable member had no sooner taken his seat, than 
Col. Barre rose, and replied : '* They planted by your care. 
No, your oppression planted them in America. They fled 
from your tyranny, to a then uncultivated and inhospitable 
country, where they were exposed to almost all the hardships, 
to which human nature is liable, and among others, to the 
cruelties of a savage foe; the most subtle, and I will take upon 
me to say, the most formidable, of any people upon the face of 
God*8 earth ; and yet actuated by principles of true English 
liberty, they met all hardships with pleasure, compared with 
those they sufiered in their own country, from the hands of 
those who should have been their friends. 

** They nourished by your indulgence ! They grew by your 
neglect of them. As soon as you began to take care of them, 
that care was exercised in sending persons to rule them in one 
department and another, who were deputies of deputies to 
some members of this house, sent to prey upon them ; men, 
whose behaviour, on many occasions, has caused the blood of 
those sons of liberty to recoil within them ; men promoted to 
the highest seats of justice, some, to my knowledge, were glad 
by going to a foreign country, to escape being brought to a 
bar of justice in their own. 

** They protected by your arms ! They have nobly taken 
up &rms in your defence; have exerted their valour, amidst their 
constant and laborious in(\ustry, for the defence of a country 
whose frontier was drenched in blood, while its interior parts 
yielded all its little savings to your emolument. 

** And believe me, that same spirit of freedom which actuated 
that people at first, will accompany them still. But prudence 
forbids me to explain myself further. 

** God knows, I do not, at this time, speak from party heat. 
However superior to me, in general knowledge and experi- 
ence, the respectable body of this house may be, yet I claim 
to know more of America than most of you, having seen and 
been conversant in that country. The people, I believe, are aa 


truly loyal M any snbj^U the king has ; but a people jealoui 
of their liberties, and who wUl vindicate them, if ever they 
should be violated — ^but the subject is too delicate — ^I will say 
no more." 

For this unpremeditated appeal, pronounced with an energy 
and an eloquence fitted to the high occasion, the house 
was not prepared. For some minutes, the members remained 
motionless, as if petrified by surprise. But the opposition at 
length rallied. Their pride could not allow of retreat. The 
measure was again urged, the question was taken, and the bill 

No act of the British government could have been more im 
politic ; and none ever excited, in the colonies, a more uni 
versal alarm. It gave birth to feelings, which could never be 
suppressed, and aroused those intestine commotions in Xme* 
rica, which, after kindling a civil war, and involving all Europe 
in its calamities, terminated in the total disjunction from the 
British empire, of one of its fairest portions. 

After the arrival of the news that the stamp act had been 
adopted in parliament, the first public body that met was 
the assembly of Virginia. Towards the close of the session, 
about the last of May, the following resolutions were in- 
troduced into the house of burgesses, by Patrick Henry ; a 
lawyer, at that time a young man, but highly distinguished 
for the strength of his intellect, and the power of his elo- 

*' Resolved, that the first adventurers and settlers of this his 
majesty's colony and dominions of Virginia, brought with 
^em, and transmitted to their posterity, and all others his 
majesty's subjects, since inhabiting in this his majesty's co- 
lony, all the privileges and immunities that have at any time 
been held, enjoyed, and possessed, by the people of Great 

*' Resolved, that by the two royal charters granted by King 
James I. the colonists aforesaid are declared entitled to all 
privileges of fidthful, liege, and natural bom subjects, to all 
intenti^ and purpoaes, as if they bad been abiding and bom 
within die realms of England. 


** Resolved, that his majesty's most Hege people of this his 
most ancient colony, have enjoyed the right of heing thus 
goremed by their own authority, in the article of taxes and 
internal police, and that the same have never been forfeitedf 
nor any other way yielded up, but have been constantly re- 
cognised by the king and people of Great Britain. 

** Resolved, therefore, that the general assembly of this co« 
lony, together with his majesty, or his substitute, have, in their 
representative capacity, the only exclusive right and power to 
lay taxes and impositions upon the inhabitants of the colony ; 
and that any attempt to vest such a power in any person or 
persons whatever, other than the general assembly afore- 
said, is illegal^ unconstitutional, and unjust; and has a 
manifest tendency to destroy British as well as American free- 

The debate on these resolutions was animated, and even vio- 
lent Nothing like them had ever transpired in America. 
They evinced a settled purpose of resistance ; and conveyed 
to the ministry of Great Britain a lesson, which had they read 
with unprejudiced minds, might have saved them the fruitless 
struggle of a seven years war. There were those, in the house 
of burgesses, who strongly opposed the resolutions ; but the 
bold and powerful eloquence of Henry bore them down, and 
carried the resolutions through. In the heat of debate, ho 
boldly asserted, that the king had acted the part of a tyrant ; 
and alluding to the fate of other tyrants, he exclaimed, *' Cxsar 
had his Brutus, Charles I. his Cromwell, and George III." — 
here pausing a moment, till the cry of ** treason, treason,*^ 
resounding from several parts of the house, had ended — he 
added — " may profit by their example ; if this be treason, make 
the most of it." 

The above resolutions had no sooner passed, than they found 
their way into the papers of the day, and were circulated widely 
and rapidly through the colonies. They were received with 
enthusiasm ; and served to raise still higher the indignant 
feelings which pervaded the country. 

Before these resolutions had reached Massachusetts, the 
house of representatives of that colony had declared the ex- 


pediencf of a coagress, composed of commissionerB from the 
flereral colonies, '\ to consult together on. the present cir- 
cumstBJices of the colonies ; — the acts of parliament laying 
duties and laues upon them ; and to consider of a general 
and humble address to his majesty and the parliament for 

The measure thus proposed by Massachusetts, on being 
eommunicaled to the sereral coloniesi was receired with 
cordial approbation by most of them ; and on the 7th of Oc- 
tober, 1765, commissioners from the colonies of Massachu- 
setts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, 
FennsylTania, Delaware, Maryland, and South Carolina, metat 
New-York, on the important and responsible business assign- 
ed them. 

This congress, the first that was ever held in America, 
published, as the result of their deliberation, a declaration of 
the rights and grievances of the colonists ; and agreed upon a 
memorial to the house of lords, and a petition to the king and 

In their declaration, they acknowledged their allegiance to 
his cxajesty, and their willingness to render due honour to the 
-ightfu} authority of parliament ; but they claimed that ik4^ 
had xnteTests, rights, and liberties, as the natural born sub- 
jects of his majesty, and that, as they could not be represent- 
ed in porliament, that body had no right to impose taxes 
upon them without their consent. Tliey declared the stamp 
act, and other acts of parliament, " to have a manifest tenden- 
cy to subvert the rights and liberties of the colonists." 

The address and petition, agreed to by this congress, were 
at this time signed by the commissioners from six colonies 
only. Bot their proceedings were warmly approved in every 
quarter of the country ; and at a subsequent date, receired the 
sanction of the assemblies, not only of South Carolina, Con- 
necticut, and New- York, but of those colonies vhich had not 
been represented in the congress. 

While the highest assemblies were thus bearing their official 
and solemn testimony against the oppressive and unconstita 
tianal acts of the British parliament; the people, in every see 

laTKOSvonoN. 31 

tion of the conntrT', and especially in the prindps) towns, wen 
maniresting their abhvrreace of those measure!, ia a differenti 
but not le«8 deciaire way. 

On the momiogof the I4thDf Angost, twoeffi^es were din- 
covered hanging on the branch of an old elm, near the south 
entrance of Boston. One of these represented a stamp o^e: 
iheotfaer, ajocAioot, out of wiiich rose a homed head, which 
appeared to be looking round. 

The ringularity of this spectacle soon attracted the notice 
of great numbers; and before evening, the collection amounted 
toa multitude. The images were then taken down,placed upon 
a bier, and carried in procession with imposing solemnity. 
Al a <Iistance, in the rear, the multitude followed, shouting — 
** )ib,!rty and prosperity forever — no stamps !" Arriving in 
front of a bouae.owned by one Oliver, which was supposed to 
be a stamp office, they levelled it to the ground ; and proceed- 
ing to hia place of residence, they beheaded his effigy, and 
broke in the windows of his house. Oliver himself effected a 
timely escape ; but hia fences, the furniture of his house, and 
its dependencies, were destroyed. It was midnight before the 
multitude dispersed. 

In the morning of the next day, the people re-assembled, 
and were proceeding to a repetition of their excesses ; 
but upon hearing that Oliver had sent hia resignation to 
England, they desisted, and repairing to the frontof his house, 
they gave three cheers, and quietly returned to their homes. 

A volume would scarcely suffice, tu give a full recital of all 
the commotions which were excited by the stamp act, in the 
fiinglc province of Massachusetts. Dut these disorders were 
£ir from being confined to such circumscribed limits. A spi- 
rit of resistance pervaded the country. The very atmosphere 
seemed pregnant with revolt. Even sobriety was found off 
her guard, in the tumultuous crowd ; and old age felt some- 
thing of the impulses of younger days. 

On the first day of November, the stamp act was to go Into 

operation. As it drew near, the feehngs of the colonists 

became more ftnd more intense ; less popular noise and cla- 

ntonrwere, perhaps, to be heard; but a deep and settled hoa 



dlity to the act had taken possession of every breast On the 
5th of October, the ships which brought the stamps appeared in 
sight of Philadelphia, near Gloucester Point : The vessek in thfi 
harbour immediately hoisted their colours half mast high ; the 
-bells on the churches were muffled ; and during the rest of the 
•day were tolled, in token of a profound and general mourning. 

On the 10th of September, the stamps, designed for Boston, 
arrived at that place. By order of the governor, they were 
-conveyed to the castle, where they could be defended by the 
artillery, should occasion require. At length, the 1st of No- 
vember arrived. The day in many places was ushered in 
with marks of funeral ceremony. Business was suspended, 
and shops and stores were closed. But at this time, not a 
single sheet of all the bales of stamps, which had been sent 
from England, could have been found in the colonies of New- 
* England, of New- York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, 
And the two Carolinas. They had either been committed to 
the flames, had been rcshipped to England, or were safely 
guarded by the opposition, into whose hands they had fallen. 
A general suspension, or rather a total cessation, of all business, 
which required stamped paper, was the consequence. The 
printers of newspapers only, observes an historian, continued 
their occupation ; alleging for excuse, that if tlicy had done 
otherwise, the people would have given them such an admo- 
nition, as they little coveted. None would receive the gazettes 
coming from Canada, as they were printed on stamped paper. 
The courts of justice were shut; even marriages were no longer 
celebrated ; and, in a word, an absolute stagnation in all the 
relations of social life was established.* 

The mother country could not long remain in ignorance of 
the spirit which prevailed, and the disturbances which had 
been excited in the colonies, by the oppressive acts of parlia- 
ment; and the stampact in particular. The minds of all classes 
in that country were deeply affected ; but as different interests 
swayed, different opinions were entertained and expressed. 

The merchants^ anticipating a loss on the credit given to the 


iNTBOitrcTioir. 3B 

Americans, were diapoaed to cenaure the eztnordiaary conne 
of pBrliement The manu&ctureni were not leas loud in their 
complaint, aince, bb the orders for their wares were discon- 
tinued, ruin stared them in the face> A deep despondency 
pervaded the minds of some ; a lofi^ indignation took posses- 
sion of others. By one class, the colonies were eztraTaganrij' 
esctolled ; hy another, they were as pointedly condemned. 
By some, they were praised for their manly independence and 
bold decision ; by others, they were accused of ingratitude, 
turbulence, and rebelUon. 

FortDuately for the interests both of the colonies and of 
Great Britain, about this time, a change took place in the ad- 
ministration of En^and, by which several of the friends of 
America came into power. The Marquis of Rockingham, 
one of the wealthiest noblemen of the kingdom, and highly 
esteemed for the endowments of his mind, aod the sincerity of 
his character, was appointed first lord of the treasury, in the 
room of Lord Grenville ; Mr. Dowdeswell was made Chancel- 
lor of the Exchequer ; Lord Winchester took the place of the 
Duke of Bedford, as president of the council ; end the Seals 
were given to the young Duke of Gra^un and General Con- 
way, who ^o nobly defended the cause of the Americans, on the 
motion in parliament to lax them. 

Daring the session of the parliament of 1766, the subject of 
the late disturbances in the colonies was brought forward, by 
ttie new admin iatration, and the expediency of repealing the 
odiona enactments was strongly urged. Petitions, from various 
quarters, were presented, to the same efiecl. Many of the 
merchants and manufacturersof the kingdom weredeeplyaffect- 
«d by the new regulations concerning America. An immense 
quantity of British manufactures were perishing in the ware- 
houses ; while artisans and seamen were deprived of employ. 
ment and support. 

To the repeal of the stamp act, its original advocates were 
strongly opposed, and they marshalled all their strength to 
prevent it. In the first rank stood George Grenville, the late 
prime minister. In the debate on the subject of repeal, among 
other things, he svd, "much against their will, the ministers 


bare laid before this house, the disturbances and audacious 
enormities of the Americans ; for they beg^an in July, and now 
we are in the middle of January ; lately they were only oc-" 
eurrences; they are now grown to disturbances, tumults, and 
riots. I doubt they border on open rebellion; and if the doc- 
trine I have heard this day, be confirmed,! fear they will lose 
that name, to take that ef revolution." — '* When I proposed 
to tax America, I asked the house, if any gentleman would 
object to the right? I repeatedly asked it; and no man 
would attempt to deny it. And tell me, when the Americans 
were emancipated? When they want the protection of this 
kingdom, they are always very ready to isk it. This protection 
has always been granted them, in the fullest manner; and now 
they refuse to contribute their mite towards the public expen- 
ses. For let not gentlemen deceive themselves, with regard 
to the rigour of the tax ; it would not suffice even for the ne- 
cessary expenses of the troops stationed in America: but a 
pepper-corn in acknowledgment of the right is of more value 
than millions without. Yet, notwitlistanding the slightness 
of the tax, and the urgency of our situation, the Americans 
grow sullen, and instead of concurring in assisting to meet 
expenses arising from themselves, they renounce your autho- 
rity, insult vour officers, and break out, I might almost say, 
into open rebellion. 

" There was a time when they would not have proceeded 
thus ; but they are now supported by the artifice of these 
young gentlemen ; inflammatory petitions are handed about 
against us, and in their favour. Even within this house, in 
this sanctuary of the laWs, sedition has found its defenders. 
Resistance to the laws is applauded ; obstinacy encoura- 
ged ; disobedience extolled ; rebellion pronounced a virtue.*^ 

In reply to Grenville, William Pitt, now venerable for his 
age, and still more venerable for the important services which 
he had rendered his country, rose and said : *' I know not 
whether I ought most to rejoice, that the infirmities which have 
been wasting, for so long a time, a body, already bowed by the 
weight of years, of late suspending their ordinary violence, 
should have allowed me, this day, to behold these walls, and 



to discoss, in the pre«enc«! •■{ this au^st awembly, a subjecl 
of inch high importancet snd which to nearly concerns the 
nfety of onr country ; or to griere at the rigour of destiny. 
in contemplating this country, wbich| within a few years bad 
arrived At such a pinnacle of splendour and majesty, and be- 
come formidable to the universe from the immensity of its 
power, now wasted by an intestine evil, a prey to ciril discordst 
■ad mttdly hasteniog to the brink of the abyss, into which 
the united force of the most powerful nations of Europa 
■trnggled in Tain to plunge it. Would to heaven, that my 
health bad permitted my attendance here, when it was first 
proposed to tax America ! If my feeble voice should not 
have been able to avert the torrent of calamities, which hat 
&llen upon us, and the tempest which threatens Qs, at 
least my testimony would have attested, that I had no part in 

" It is now an act that has passed ; I would speak with 
decency of every act of this house, but I mast beg the indul- 
gence of the house to speak of it with freedom. There is an 
idea in some, that the Americans are virtually represented in 
this house ; but I would fain know by what province, county, 
city, or borough, ihey are represented here ? Ho doubt by 
some province, county, city, or borough, never seen or known 
by them, or their ancestors, and which they never will see or 

" The commons of America, represented in their several 
assemblies, have ever been in possession of the exercise of 
this, their constitutional right, of giving and granting their 
own money. They would have been slaves if they had not 
enjoyed it. 

" I come not here, armed at all points with law cases, and 
acts of parliament, with the statute book doubled downin dog's 
cars, as my valiant adversary has done. But I know, at least, 
if we are to take example from ancient facts, that, even under 
the mostarbitraryreigns, parliamentswere ashamed of taxing 
a people without their consent, and allowed them representa- 
tivet ; and in our own times, even th«se who send no mem- 
bers to psrliament, kre all at least inhabitants of Great Bri- 


tain Many hare it in their option to be actually represented. 
They have connexions with those that elect, and they have 
influence over them. Would to heaven that all were better 
represented than they are ! It is the vice of our constitu 
tion ; perhaps the day will arrive, and I rejoice in the hope, 
when the mode of representation, this essential part of our 
organization, and principal safeguard of our liberty, will be 
carried to that perfection which every good Englishman must 

" I hear it said that America is obstinate, America Is almost 
in open rebellion. I rejoice that America has resisted. Three 
millions of people, so dead to all the feelings of liberty as 
voluntarily to submit to be slaves, would have been fit instru- 
ments to make slaves of ourselves. The honourable member 
has said also, for he is fluent in words of bitterness, that Ame- 
rica is ungrateful : he boasts of his bounties towards her ; 
but are not these bounties intended, finally, for the benefit of 
this kingdom ? And how is it true, that America is ungrate- 
ful ? Does she not voluntarily hold a good correspondence 
with us ? The profits to Great Britain, from her commerce 
with the colonies, are two millions a year. This is the fund 
that carried you triumphantly through the last war. The es- 
tates that were rented at two thousand pounds a year, seventy 
years ago, are at three thousand at present. You owe this to 
America. This is the price she pays for your protection. I 
omit the increase of population in the colonies ; the migration 
of new inhabitants from every part of Europe ; and the ulte- 
rior progress of American commerce, should it be regulated 
by judicious laws. And shall we hear a miserable financier 
come with a boast that he can fetch a pepper-com into the 
exchequer to the loss of millions to the nation ? The gentle- 
man complains that he has been misrepresented in the public 
prints. I can only say, it is a misfortune common to all that 
fill high stations, and take a leading part in public afiairs. 
He says, also, that when he first asserted the right of parlia- 
ment to tax America, he was not contradicted. I know not 
how it is, but there is ^modesty in this house, which does not 
choose to contradict a minister. If gentlemen do not get the 

better of this modesty, perhapa the collectire body may bcgia 
to abate of its respect Tor the representa^ve. A great deal 
has been said vithout di>ors, and more than is discreet, of the 
power, of the strength of America. But, in a good cause, on 
a sound bottom, the force of this country can crush America 
to atoms ; but on the ground of ihii lax, wheo it is wished to 
prosecute an erident injustice, I am one who will lift my hands 
and my Toiee against it 

" In such a cause, your success would be deplorable, and 
Tictory hazardous. America, if she fell, would fait like the 
strong man. She would embrace the pillars of the state, and 
pnlldowntheconstitntion along ifrith her. Is this your boasted 
peace t — not to sheath the sword in its scabbard, but tosbeath 
it in the bowels of your countrymen I Will you quarrel with 
yourselres, now the whole house of Bourbon is against you T 
While Fiance disturbs your fisheries in Newfoundland, em- 
barrasses your slave trade with Africa, and withholds from 
Tour subjects in Canada their property, stipulated by treaty ? 
While the ransom for the Manillas is denied by Spain, and its 
gallant conqueror traduced into a mean plunderer t The 
Americans have not acted in ail things with prudence ani 
temper. They hare been wronged. Tliey have been driren 
to ma'dness by injustice. Will you punish ihem for the mad- 
ness you have occasioned T Rather let prudence and benig* 
nity come first from the strongest side. Excuse iheir errors; 
learn to honour their virtues. Upon the whole, I will beg 
leave to tell the house what is really my opinion. I consider 
it moat consistent with our dignity, most useful to our hberty, 
an'l in every respect the safest for this kingdom, that the 
stamp act be repealed, absolutely, totally, and immediately. 
At the same time, let the sovereign authority of this country 
over the colonies be asserted in ns strong terms as can be 
devised, and oe made to extend to every point of legislation 
whatsoever ; that we may bind their trade, confine their ma- 
unfactures, and exercise every power whatsoever, except that 
of taking their money out of their pockets withont their con- 

The impression made by tliis speech of Mr. Pitt, pro- 

40 iirTHDDUCTiaif. 

noancedtU it wu, with afirmaud Bolemn tone, ms deep and 
effectual. Much resentment was, indeed, manifested by aU 
on account of the excesaee committed by the Americans ; bnt 
conviction had settled on the minds of a majority of parlia- 
ment, that at least a partial retrocession on their part was ne- 
cessary. Accordingly, on the putting of the question, Februa- 
ry 22d, the repeal of the stamp act was carried in the honse 
by ft majority of 285 to 167- The vote in the house of peers 
was 155 to 61. On the 19tb of March, the act of repeal re- 
ceived the royal assent. 

Thus was pat at rest, for a time, a question which bad 
deeply agitated not only the colonies of America, but England 
itself; and had excited mucb attention througbont continental 
Europe. But it is more than probable, that even at this time 
the repealing act would not have passed, had it not been ac- 
companied by a icclaraiory act, that the parliament had the 
right to make laws and statutes to bind the colonies in all 
cases whatsoever. 

The joy produced throughout England at thb result, waa 
greater than could have been anticipated, and no demonstra- 
tions vere omitted which could testify the public sense of the 
MndnesB of the king, and the wisdom of the parliament. The 
flags of the ships were spread jn token of felicitation ; a 
general illumination of the city of London was made ; salutes 
were fired ; and bonfires kindled in every quarter. 

Butit waa in America that a still higher joy prevailed, and 
still greater demonstrations of that joy were made. In the 
house of representatives in Massachusetts, a vote of gratitude 
to the king, and of thanks to Mr. Pitt, the Duke of Grafton, 
and others, was passed. By the house of burgesses in Vir^- 
nia, it was resolved to erect a statue in honour of the king, 
and an obelisk in honour of all those, whether of the house 
of peers or of commons, who had distinguished themselves 
in favour of the rights of the colonies. 

In the midst of this joy, the declaratory act, above men- 
tioned, appears to have been little regarded. The extent and 
inadmissible character of its principles for a time remained 
It was considered as appended to the act of 


repeal, to soften tbe prejudices of the opposition, and to eeve 
national honour from the imputation of being too greatly tar- 
nished. But, in reality, it was designed ag the recognition of 
a principle which the British politicians were unwilling to 
relinquish, and which they might in time hare occauon to 

It is not, moreover, to be concealed, that universal and sin- 
cere as was the joy of the Americans, consequent on the re- 
peal of the stamp act; the same cordiality was never felt by 
the colonies, as before the late disturbances. A strong dis- 
gust — a deep resentment, had fixed itself in the hearts of 
many ; and a secret wish began to be felt, that the yoke were 
entirely removed. Perhaps, even at this early day, the hope 
was indulged, that the time would arrire, when this wish 
would become a reality. 

Id Joly, 1766, the administradon of the Marquis of Rock- 
ingham was dissolved, and a new one formed, under the direc- 
tion of Mr. Pill. Unfortunately it was composed of men of 
clifTerent political principles, and attached to dilferent parties. 
The Duke of Grafton was placed at the head of the treasury; 
Lord Shelburne was joined with General Conway as one of the 
secretaries of slate ; Charles Townshend was made chancel- 
lor of the excheqoer, Camden, lord chancellor, Pitt, now crea- 
ted Earl of Chatham, had the privy seal, and Lord North and 
George Cooke were joint pay-masters. 

If the prejudices of many in the colonies were not yet 
done away, much more was this the fact with the ex-minister 
Orenville, and his adherents in England. Disappointed as 
to the popularity of his administration, and remembering as 
one cause of it, his measures against America, he was ready 
to call into view, on every occasion, her obstinacy and ingra- 
titude, and to enter anew upon elforls to tax the colonies. 

To him, therefore, is attributed the plan which, under the 
last formed administnlion, was brought forward in the par* 
liament of 1767, to impose (axes upon the colonies. The 
uiicles enumerated in the bill, upon which duties were laid, 
were glass, paper, paste board, white and red lead, painterB 
cokrars, and tea. 

F 4» 


Mr. Pitt) during the discussion of this bill, was confined by 
indispoBition, and hence, un&ble to raise bis voice agaitut it. 
Without much opposition, it passed both houses, and on the 
&Oth of June, received the royal assenL At the same time 
were passed two other acts ; — the one establishing a new 
board of cnstom-house officers in America ; and the other re- 
straining the legislature of the province of New- York from 
passing any act whatever, until they should furnish the king's 
troops with several required articles. 

These three acts reached America at the same time, and 
again excited universal alarm. The first and second were 
particularly odious. The new duties, it was perceived, were 
only a new mode of drawing money from the colonies, and 
the same strong opposition to the measure was exhibited, 
which had prevailed against the stamp act. Several of the 
colonies, through their colonial assemblies, expressed their 
just abhorrence of these enactments, and their determination 
never to submit to them. 

Soon after the establishment of the new board of custom 
house officers, at Boston, under the above act, a fit occasion 
presented itself, for an expression of the public indignation. 
This was the arrival at that port, in May, 1368, of the sloop 
Liberty, belonging to Mr. Hancock, and laden'witb wines from 

During the night, the most of her cargo was unladen, and 
put into stores ; on the following day the sloop was entered 
at the custom house, with a few pipes only. A discovery 
being made of these facts, by the custom-house officers, the 
vessel was seized, and by their order removed along side of 
the Romney, a ship of war, then in the harbour. 

The conduct of the custom-house officers in this transac- 
tion roused the indignant feelings of the Bostoniang, who un- 
warrantably attacked the bouses of the officers, and even 
assaulted their persons. Nyprosecu lions, however, could be 
sustained, from the excited state of public feeling. 

Finding themselves no longer safe in the town, the officers 
prudently sought protection on board the Romney, and nib- 
aeqoently retired to Gaalle WiUiama. 


Hm public excitement waa soon aAer incrcMed, by the ar- 
riTal in the harbour of two regiments of troops, under the 
command of Colonel Dalrymple. These were designed to 
assist the civil magistrates in the preservation of peace, and 
the custom-house officers in the execution of their functions. 
Both these regiments were encamped within the town — the 
one on the commons, the other in the market hall and state 

This measure of the goremor, under order of the British 
ministry, was eminently fitted to rouse the public indignation 
to the highest pitch. To be thus watchetl, eu if in a state of 
open rebellion — to see their common a place of encampment 
' — and their halls of justice, with the chambers of their as- 
aemblyt thronged with armed soldiers, was more than the in- 
habitants were willing to endure. Frequent quarrels and 
collisions occurred between the citizens and soldiers, which 
every day threatened to terminate in bloodshed. 

During the session of parliament in 1770, the Duke of 
Grafton,lirst lord of the treasury, resigned, and was succeeded 
in that office by the afterwards celebraled Lord North. In 
March, this latter gentleman introduced a bill abolishing 
the duties imposed by the act of 1767, on all the articles 
except tea. This partial suspension of the duties served to 
soften the feelings of the Americans in a degree ; but the 
exception in relation to tea, it was quite apparent, was de- 
signed as a salvo to the national honour, and as an evidence 
which the British ministry were unwilling to relinquish, of the 
ri^t of parliament to tax the colonies. 

The above relaxation in respect to certain duties was, how- 
ever, unaccompanied by any other indications of a morekindly 
feeling towards the colonies. The troops were still continued 
in Boston, and the acts of trade enforced with singular strict- 
ness. At length, on the evening of the 6th of March, 1770, in 
a quarrel between a party of soldiers and citizens, eleven of 
the latter were killed or wounded, by a guard, under command 
of a Captain Preston. 

The news of this rencontre was spread in every direction 
over the city — the hells were rang, the alarm of "fire" was 


giren, the draniB were beat, and the citizens ereiy where 
called to anni. Thousands soon assembled, and demanded 
the removal of the troops from the town. With the assu- 
rance that the afiair should he settled to their satisfaction io the 
morniag, they were induced toretire. When the momingcame, 
however, Hutchinson, the lieutenant governor, for a long 
time refused to order the removal of the troops, and was only 
driven to this measure, bjr evidence too strong to be doubted, 
that his own personal safety depended upon it. 

The men who were killed, were regarded as martyrs In the 
cause of liberty ; and at their interment no mark of publie 
sympathy or appropriate funeral ceremony was omitted. The 
anniversary of this tragical event, which was' called " the 
Boston massacre," was long observed with great solemnly, 
and gave occasion to warm and patriotic addresses, well 
adapted to eicite a revolutionary spirit. 

Captain Preston and his guard were arraigned before a 
judicial tribunal ; but for the honour of the colony they were 
all acquitted, except two, who were found guilty of man- 
slaughter. For this acquittal, the prisoners, as well as the 
colony, were indebted to the independent zeal and powerful 
eloquence of John Adams and Josiah Quincy, Jun. than whom 
none were warmer friends to the colony, or had acted a more 
conspicuous part againat the imperious demands of the British 
ministry. Odious to the community as the prisonfers were, 
these honest and intrepid champions appeared in their 
defence, and proved to the world, that while Americans 
could resist the usurpations of a tyrannical ministry, they 
could also stand forth, when justice required, for the pro- 
tection and defence of their irresponsible servants. 

Allusion has been made to the requirement of his British 
majesty, in former years, that the colonies should provide for ' 
the support of the royal governors by a permanent sabry, and 
their refusal to yield to the royal wishes. In the year 1772, it 
was ofKcialty announced to the assembly of Massachusetts, 
that provision had been made for the payment of their gover- 
nor's salary by the crown, independent of any grant from 
them. The fonaer dispute on this subject had given birth to 


■Mny angry &«fings ; bat Iftnguage csn scarcelr deieribe (he 
exeiteinent oecasioned by the renewal of the anbject, and the 
■pplicatioii of the rerenne of the colony to the above purpose, 
independent of the assembly. The hoose of representativea 
immediately declared the appropriation an infraction of their 
charter — a dangeroua innovation, and the preliminary to a 
despotic administrstton of (^remment 

While this dispute was going forward in Massachusetts, a 
bold opposition to the measures of the British ministry ap- 
peared (June, 1773) in the colony of Rhode Island. A British 
armed schooner, called the Gaspee, had been stationed in that 
colony to assist the board of customs ia the execution of the 
rerenoe and trade laws. Desirous of displaying his authority, 
and ofhumbling the pride of the colonists, the captain obliged 
the masters of packets, narigating the bay, to lower their 
colours on passing the schooner; and, in case of refusal, 
would chase them, and lire upon them. To a requirement so 
humiliating, a masterof oneof thePrOTidence packets refused 
lo submit, and woa chased by the schooner, which venturing 
loo far inland, ran aground. 

Intelligence of her situation was immediately communicated 
to the inhabitants of Providence; and several who were 
characterized for a love of daring enterprise, repaired to the 
spot. Under cover of night, they took the vessel by 
force, and burnt her to the water's edge. Such a bold opposi- 
tion to the laws, was not suffered lo pass unnoticed. But 
although commissioners were appointed to investigate the 
affair, and a reward of 600/, was offered for a discovery of the 
offenders, all efforts to detect them were fulilc. 

The oppositicn to the royal proTiaion for the salary of the 
governor, which we noticed in a preceding paragraph, was 
not conhncd to the assembly of Massacliuaelts. Numerous 
meetings were called in the various towns of the provinces, in 
relation, as well to this particular measure, as to other oppres- 
fire acts of the British parliament. 

In these meetings, the town of Boston took the lead. A 
committee was appointed to address the several towns in the 
Mlony, and to urge upon them the importance of an unani* 

46 iifTRODvonoif. 

mou8 expression of their feelings with regard to the conduet 
of the British ministry. ** We hare abundant reason to appre- 
hend," said this committee, In their address, " that a plan of 
despotism has been concerted, and is hastening to a comple* 
Hon; the late measures of the administration have a direct 
tendency to deprive us of every thing valuable as men, as 
christians, and as subjects, entitled to the rights of native 
Britons." — "We are not afraid of poverty," said they, in con- 
elusion, — " but we disdain slavery. Let us consider, we are 
struggling for our best birth rights and inheritance ; which, 
being infringed, renders all our blessings precarious in their 
'enjoyment, and trifling in their value." 

The proceedings of the assembly, and of the towns in Mas- 
sachusetts, were communicated to the house of burgesses in 
Virginia, in March of 1773. Similar sentiments prevailed in 
that ancient and patriotic colony. It was apparent to that body, 
and began to be a prevailing opinion throughout the coun- 
try, that to remain much longer in that particular state, was 
impossible. The future was indeed indistinct. But the wild 
confusion of the elements gave indications of an approaching 
storm. A portentous cloud hung over the country. It was 
the part of wisdom, at least, to think of preparation, and to 
ascertain in what attitude things stood in different sections of 
the country, together with the support the directing officers 
might expect, should the threatening tempest actually burst. 

With these views, no doubt, the house of burgesses in Vir- 
ginia, on the 12th of March, 1773, passed the following reso- 
lutions : 

" Be it resolved, that a standing committee of correspon- 
dence and inquiry be appointed, to consist of eleven persons, 
to wit : the honourable Peyton Randolph, Esquire, Robert 
Carter Nicholas, Richard Bland, Richard Henry Lee, Benja- 
min Harrison, Edmund Pendleton, Patrick Henry, Dudley 
Diggs, Dabney Carr, Archibald Gary, and Thomas JefTerson, 
Esquires, any six of whom to be a committee, whose business 
it shall be to obtain the most early and authentic intelligence 
of such acts and resolutions of the British parliament, or pro- 
ceedings of administration, as may relate to, or affect the British 


colonies ; snd to keep up and maintain a correapondence and 
communication with our sister colonies, respecting these im- 
portant consideraliona, and the result of theirproceedinga from 
. tune to time to lay before the hoase." 

Upon the recommendation of Virginia, similar committees 
of correspondence and inquiry were appointed by the differ- 
ent colonial assemblies ; and a confidenltal interchange of 
opinions was thus kept up between the colonies. Great unity 
of sentiment was the consequence ; and the value of the 
meaeore was fully developed, in the struggle which afterwards 
ensued between the colonies and the parent country. 

By a series ofdirect oppressions, and through the resident 
officers of the crown, the hostility of the people of Massachu- 
sette had become a settled principle ; and about this time, it 
received addilionalstrength, from ihediscovery and publication 
of certain letters, addressed to a member of parliament, in the 
years 1768 and 176t), by Mr. Hutchinson the governor, snd 
Mr, Oliver the chief justice of the province. 

The existence of these letters was communicated to Dr. 
Franklin, who at that time resided in England, by a gentleman 
of hie acquaintance, with the assurance that they contained 
iistemenls calculated to prejudice the ministry and parlia- 
ment against the people of Massachusetts, and to widen the 
breach between the two countries ; and that they moreover 
recommended the employment of force to reduce the colonics 
lo order and obedience. 

The letters were, at leogth, shown by this gentleman lo Dr. 
Franklin, who obtained copicsof them to be sent to America, 
only upon the express condition, (hat they should be conlj- 
dentially shown to a few, and should not be again copied. 

On their arrival in America, ihey were confidentially shown 
10 the "few;" but it was scarcely possible that they should not 
be made the subject of conversation. By some means, the 
existence of such letters became known, beyond the original 
istention; and so intense was the curiosity excited by tlie 
nbject, that on the 2d of June, 1T73, some nf them were com- 
mooicsted by Samuel Adams to the assembly of MassachusctlSi 


th«n sittitig with cloaed doon, under (be mtrietion Ifaat they 
ahould not be copied or published. 

NntirithBtBading the above reBtrictionst the contents of ihe 
letters were BO extraordinary and softilly evidential of a deaiga 
to sabvert the conat^ution of the province by Uie introdnc- 
tion of arbitrary power, that the houae, upon farther delibera- 
tion, directed the whole to be published. They were induced 
to thia course, by the fact, that severa] copies had got into 
circulation, from which it might be inferred, that the cMaent 
of the original owner had been obtained for that purpose. 

The letters contained exaggerated statements and delibe- 
rate mis representations of occurrences in the colony, and 
recommended an alteration of the charter of Massachusetts, 
together with the institution of an order of patricians. They 
even hinted at the expediency of " taking off some of the 
original incendiaries." 

The governor, unable to deny his own signature, presented 
the poor excuse that they were " confidential letters," and 
were written without any such object as was ascribed to them. 
But now, " proof was heaped upon the shoulders of demon- 
stration," that Hutchinson, Oliver, and their adherents, had 
attempted tn alienate the affections of the king and ministry 
from Ihe colonies. The house of representatives, in an address 
to the king, broadly asserted this lact ; and solicited, though 
in vain, that Hutchinson and Oliver might be removed from 
their planes forever. 

During these transactions in America, a plan was devising 
by the British miniftry, to introduce tea into the colonies. 
The duty on this a*)^cle, as already noticed, had been re- 
tained, for the purpfljt of maintaining the supremacy of par- 
liament, and its right to impose taxes. Little of the article) 
however, had been imported into the couut^y from Great 
Britain ; the people having firmly resolved not to submit to 
the payment of the duty. In consequence of a strict adhe- 
rence to this resolution, the teas of Ihe East India Company 
had accumulated in their warehouses ; and legislative aid 
became necessary to relieve (hem of their embarrsMmenta. 

ia 17^ tha minuter iatrodoced a bill into p«rUun«n^ 
•Ooiriag the eompuiT' to export Ihdr tea> to America, with a 
drawback of all the datiea paid in England. By this regula- 
tion, tea wonU in (act become cheaper in America Ihaa la 
Great Britain, and it waa expected that this conaideraUon 
wonld induce the Americans to pa^ the amall Auiy npon it. 

On the pauaga of thii bill, (be company made a ahipmeat of 
large qoantitiH of tea to (Aarleitan, Philadelphia, New- York, 
aad^ftmu Before iti arriral, the reaolution bad been formed 
1^ mi inhabitants of Uioae placea, that, if poasible, it ahonU 
not eren be landed. That cargo deatined for CbaileatOD wai, 
indeed, landed and itored ; but waa not permitted to be offer* 
ed for aale. The reaiela which brought tea to Philadelphia 
and New-York, weie compelled to return to England with 
their earfoea, without eren having made an entry at the ena- 

It was designed by the leading patriots of Boston to make 
a umUar dispoaiUon of the cargoes which were expected at 
that place ; but on its arrival, the conaigneeo were found to be 
the relations, or friends, of the governor, snd they could not 
be induced to resign their trust. Several town meetings were 
held on the subject, and spirited resolutions passed, that no 
considerations would induce the inhabitants to permit the 
landing of the lea. Orders were at the same time given to the 
captains to obtain dearaoees at the custom-house, without the 
usual entries ; but this the cdleetor pertinaciously refused. 

It was in thia atale of things, that the citizens of Boston 
•gain assembled, to determine what measures to adopt Du- 
ring the discUBsions had on the posture of afiain, and while 
a captain of a vessel was gone to wait upon the governor, for 
the last time, to request a passport, Josiah Quincy, Jun. rose, and 
addressed the assembly in the following eloquent style ; " It is 
not the spirit that vapours within these walls, that must stand 
OS in alead. The exertions of this day wijl call forth events, 
which will make a very different spirit necessary for our sal- 
TBtion. . Look to the end. Whoever supposes, that shouts 
and bosaonas will terminate the trials of the day, entertains a 
'"■Miah fency. We mtut be groialy ignorut of the impoi> 
G 6 


no mnowonoir* 

Imee and Taliie of the prise, for wUch we eoiiteiid ; we mini 
be equally ignorant of the powers of those who hare com- 
Mned against us ; we must be blind to that maUce, inyeteraey 
ttid insatiable rerenge, which actuate our enemies, public and 
prirate, abroad and in our bosoms, to hope we shall end this 
controversy without the sharpest, sharpest conflicts ; to flatter 
mnrselres, that popular resolves, popular harangues, popular 
acclamations, and popular vapour, will vanquish our fears. 
Iiet us consider the issue. Let us look to the end. Let us 
meigh and consider ^ before we advance to those measures which 
Aust bring on the most trying and terrible struggle this 
'Oopitry ever saw.** 

'the captain of the vessel at length returned, to say that 
die governor refused the requested passport The meeting 
was immediately dissolved. A secret plan had been formed 
to mingle the tea with the waters of the ocean. Three dif- 
ferent parties soon after sallied out, in the costume of Mo- 
hawk Indians, and precipitately made their way to the wharves. 

At the same time, the citizens were seen in crowds direct- 
ing their course to the same place, to become spectators of a 
•cene, as novel as the enterprise was bold. Without noise, 
without the tumult usual on similar occasions, the tea was 
taken from the vessel, by the conspirators, and expeditiously 
oflered as an oblation ** to the watery God." 

Nothing could exceed the surprise of the British ministry, 
on learning the issue of their plan to introduce tea into the 
colonies. Their indignation was particularly severe against the 
inhabitants of Boston, for their *' violent and outrageous con- 
duct" In the following March, 1774, the whole affiiir was 
presented to parliament by Lord North, and a determination 
was formed to punish both the citizens of Boston, and the in- 
habitants of the colony. 

. Accordingly, a bill was soon introduced into the house of com- 
mons, usually called the ** Boston port hill^^^ which prohibited 
the landing or shipping of any goods at that port, after the 
first of June following. By a second act, which followed, the 
charter of the colony was so altered, as to make the appoint- 
ment of the council, justices, judges, sheriflb, and even jurors, 

l^Modent upon iha king or faia agent; uid rettniniog all 
lovn meetingtt except th« umoal raesting, vithont leaoe of 
the goremor in writing, with a alatement of th« apecial biui- 
noa of the meeling. To iheM «uaetmenU a third waa addecd 
anlhorising the goremor, with the advice of the council, to 
•end any perton for trial to any other colony, or to Great 
Britain, who ahould be informed againat, or indicted for any 
act done in riolation of (he bva oi the revenue. 

Ob the arriral of the Boaton port bill, which waa brought 
over by a new governor, Geoeial Gage, the eidaesa of Boa- 
ti», in an aaaembly which waa convened to conaider the mh- 
j^t, declared, " that the mpolicy, if^twttce, inA«m«Juty, j 
cmeiii/ of the act, exceeded all their powen of ezpi 
and, thnefore," aaid they, ** we lenve it to the conacieacei of 
others, and appeal to God and the world." — ^At the aame time 
they adopted the following resolntion; "That if the other 
colonies come into a joint resolution to Rtop all importatione 
from, and exportations to Great Britain, and every part of the 
West Indies, till the act be repealed, the same would prove 
the salvation of North America and her Ubertiea." 

Copiea of these proceedings were immediately circulated 
through the colonies. A universal sympathy for the inhabit 
tanta of UostoD was expressed. In Virginia, this sympathy 
was manifested by the house of burgesses, in the observance 
of the 1st of June, the day the port of Boston waa to be . 
■hnt, aa a " day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer." 

Arrangements having been made for the meeting of the 
second continental congress, on the 5th of September, 1774, 
that body assembled at Philadelphia. All the colonies were 
represented, except Georgia. Peyton Randolph, a delegata 
from Virginia, was elected president,ftnd Charles Thompson, 
a citixen of Philadelphia, was chosen secretary. 

The attention of tliis celebrated congress was at an early 
dale turned towards the province of Massachusetts, and the 
city of Boaton ; and the following resolutions were adopted, 
expresaire of the sympathy they felt for that colony, in its dis- 
tress, and the high sense which the congress entertained of 
the wiadon end forlibide which the colony exhibited. " This 


assembly deeply feels the suflermgs of their countrymen in the 
Massachusetts Bay, under the operation of the late unjustt 
cruel, and oppressive acts of the British parliament ; at the 
same time, they most thoroughly approve the wisdom and for- 
titude with which opposition to these wicked ministerial 
measures has hitherto been conducted ; and they earnestly 
recommend to their brethren a perseverance in the same firm 
and temperate conduct, trusting that the effect of the united 
efforts of North America, in their behalf^ will carry such con- 
viction to the British nation, of the unwise, unjust, and ruinous 
policy of the present administration, as quickly to introduce 
bet^ men and wiser measures." 

(ingress further addressed a letter to General Gage, ear- 
nestly praying him to put a stop to the hostile preparations 
which he had commenced, especially the fortifications around 
Boston, as the surest means of maintaining public tranquillity 
in that quarter, and preventing tlie horrors of a civil war* 
At the same time, they urged upon the citizens of that town all 
the forbearance within their power; that they should ** conduct 
themselves peaceably towards his excellency. General Grage^ 
and his majesty's troops stationed in Boston, as far as could 
possibly be consistent with the immediate safety and security 
of the town." 

Congress next proceeded to publish a declaration of rights. 
These rights were set forth in the following articles : 

** 1. That they are entitled to life, liberty, and property ; 
and they have never ceded to any foreign power whatever, a 
right to dispose of either, without their consent. 

** 2. That our ancestors, who first settled these coloniest 
were, at the time of their emigration from their mother coun- 
try, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free 
and natural bom subjects within the realm of England. 

'* 3. That by such emigration, tliey by no means forfeited, 
surrendered, or lost any of those rights, but that they were, 
and their descendants now are, entitled to tlie exercise and 
enjoyment of such of them, as their local and other circum- 
stances enable them to exercise and enjoy. 

" 4. That the foundation of English liberty, and of all free 

iNTsasvcnov. W 

gareramtuiM, it t rigbl in the people to participate in their 
legielstire council ; and u tbe English colonlata am not re- 
prewnted, nd, ^m their local and other circomilanees, can- 
not properly be represented in the British parlianient, t v^ 
mre entitled to as free and exclusive power of legialaiion, bi 
their seToral prorincial legislatures, where Ihdr right of rep* 
reaentation can alone be preserved, in all cases of taxation 
and internal policy, subject only to the negative of their sovo* 
rdgn, in snch a manner as has been heretofore used and ac- 
costomed. Bat from the neeeatity of the case, and a regard 
to the mntnal interest of both conntries, we cheerfblly consent 
to the operation of such acts of the British parliament a#Bre 
bona jCde restrained to the regnlaUon of onr external com- 
merce, for the purpose of securing Ihe commercial advantah 
gee of the whole empire to the motiier conntry, and the com- 
mercial benefits of its respectiTe members; excluding every 
idea of taxation, internal or external, for ntising ^revenue, on 
the subjects in America, without their consent 

** 6. That the respective colonies are entitled to tbe com- 
mon law of England, and more especially, to the great and 
inestimable privilege of being tried by their peers of the 
ricinity, according to the course of that law. 

"6. That they are entitled to the benefit of soch of the 
English statutes as existed at the time of their colonization ; 
snd which they have by experience respectfully found to bo 
applicable to their several local and other circumatances. 

" 7. That these his majesty's colonies, are likewise entitled 
to all the immunities and privileges, granted and confirmed 
to them by royal charters, or secured by their several codej 
of provincial laws. 

" 8. That they have a right peaceably to assemble, con- 
nder of their grievances, and petition the king ; and all prose- 
cutions, prohibitory proclamations, and commitments for ths 
same, are illegal. 

" 0. That the keeping a standing army in these colonies in 
times of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that 
Gokmy, in which such an army is kept, is against hw. 

" 10k It i> indispensably necessarj to good govemmenl^ 


ntidered eiseiitisl hy the English constitution, that the con 
stitoent i>ranchea of the legislature ha independent of each 
other ; that, therefore, the exercise of legislative power, in 
Mveral colonies, bjr a council appointed during pleasure by 
the crown, is nncoustitDtional, dangerous, and destructive in 
the freedom of American legislation." 

In relaUoQ to the above particulars, they expressed them* 
salves in the following language : 

"All and each of which, the aforesaid deputies, in behalf of 
dmnselves and their constituents, do claim, demand, and in- 
sist on, aa their indubitable rights and liberties, which cannot 
be kgally taken from them, altered, or abridged, by any powei 
whatever, without their consent by their representsdvea in 
their several provincial legislatures." 

Itwas also deemed of importance to adopt measures to stop 
commercial intercourse with Great Britain. An agreement 
was, therefore, entered into, to suspend all importation of 
merchandise from Great Britain and its dependencies, from 
the Ist of December, ITti ; and, unless the wrongs of which . 
tile Americans complained should be redressed, to suspend 
in like manner all exportation from the 10th of September, 
1775, with the single exception of rice. 

At the same time it was urged npon the coloniea to adopt 
a system of rigid economy ; to encourage industry, and to 
promote agrici^ture, arts, and mannfactnres, and especially 
the manufocture of wool. 

Having attended to these important concerns, congress 
closed their session on the S8th of October, after adopting 
addresses to the people of Great Britain, to the king, and to 
the French inhabitants of Canada. 

The congresH which then terminated its session, has justly 
been celebrated from that time to the present, and its celebrity 
will continue while wisdom finds admirers, and patriotism is 
regarded with veneration. The tone and temperof their various 
resolutions, the style of their addresses, and the compoaition 
of the several public papers, contributed, in every particular, 
to excite the admiration of the world. Bom and educatea 
in the wilds of a new world, nnpractased in the arts of polity. 


mott of them unexperienced in the arduous duties of legrisla* 
lion, differing in religion, mannera, customs, and habits, aa they 
did in their vievra of the nature of their connexion with Qreat 
Britain; — that such on assembly, so constituted, should di»- 
play so much wisdom, gagncity, foresight, and knowledge of 
the world; such skill in argument; such force of reasoning; 
inch firmness and soundness of judgment; ao profuund an ac- 
qnaintance with the rights of men; such genuine patriotism; 
and, above all, such unexampled union of opinion, was indeed 
ft political phenomenon to which history has furnished no 
parallel.* Boih at home and abroad, they were spoken of in 
terms of the highest admiration. Abroad, the Earl of Chat- 
ham, in one of hia brilliant speeches, remarked of them : — 
"History, my lords, has been my fuvourite study, and in the 
celebrated writings of antiquity have I often admired the 
patriotism of Greece and Uome ; but, my lords, I must declare 
Dnd avow, that in the master talcs of ihe world, I know not 
the people, or the senate, who, in such a complication of diffi- 
cult circumstances, can stand in preference to (he delegates 
of America assembled in general congress at Philadetphie." 
At hoTJte, they were celebrated by a native and popular bardif 
in an equally elevated strain: 

■■ NoiT meet tbc father* of this waiteni climo; 

Nor nuDH maro noble gtaccd Ibc rulla of fume, 

Tfhen Spartan Grmuess braved tbe wrecks of iiait, 

Or Romc'i bold virtuts fann'd llie heroic flama. 

Not deeper Ihoiighl the immnrtal aagr inspired. 

On Solon's lipa when Grecian gcnatea hunf; 
Nor manlier cluquencc tho boaoin fired, 

When gfenioB thundered from the AlbcniaD tongue." 

While this congress were in session, nearly all the coloniei 
had taken measures to call provincial assemblies, for (he pur- 
pose of belter securing their ancient rifrhts of government. 
Id Masaachusetls, the people had determined to hold a pro- 
vincial congress on the 15th of October, which induced Gene- 
lal Gage, with a view to prevent the intended meeting, to 

• AOn t MTingal, 

conroke tbo genenJ court of the province at Salem, on ifae 
6lh .of the same month. Before the arriral of this latter day, 
howerer, he isaned his proclamation, forbidding that assembly. 
The members, nevertheless, convened on the appointed day, 
and adjourned to Concord, where, after electing John Han- 
cock for their president, they further adjourned to meet at 
Cambridge, on the 17th instant At the latter place, they 
proceeded to exercise the powers of government, and to take 
the necessary measures for placing the province in a stale of 
defence. They appointed a committee of safety, and a com- 
mittee of supplies. One fourth of the militia were ordered to 
be enlisted as wiinate men, to be frequently drilled, and held 
in readineasVfor service at a minute's we rning. 

In other colonies also, before the close of the year, the 
note of preparation was heard. The horizon every day be- 
came more lowering; and as its darkness thickened, (he 
activity and vigilance of the colonists increased. 

The British parliament met on the 29ih of November. 
The moderation evinced by the congress at Philadelphia had 
encouraged the maas of the American people to hope, that 
on the meeting of that body, conciliatory measures would be 
adopted, so as to restore peace and harmony between the two 
countries. Similar sentiments were entertained by the 
friends of America, in England. They saw nothing in the 
proceedings of the American congress, in their resolutions, 
manifestoes, or addresses, to which an Englishman, proud of 
his birthright, could justly object. It now remained with the 
BriUsh government to adopt a plan of reconciliation, or to 
lose the affections of the colonies forever. 

The lone of his majesty's speech, on the opening of the 
■esaion, was unexpectedly lofty, and gave little encourage- 
ment to the hopes of reconciliaUon. After alluding to the 
spirit of disobedience which was abroad in his American 
colonies, and to the daring resistance to law which charac- 
terized the people of Massachusetts, he informed parliament 
of his firm determination to resist every attempt to impair the 
supreme authority of parliament, throughout the dominions 
of the crown. 

To Ih* aiad of Lord Outhun, no olqect, at (his time, 
■ansed mon Importuit, than the reatontioa of peace between 
iha two eountriea. The period had arrii^ when a reeooc^ 
Eadon innH take plKOi if crvr anch an event eonld be effected. 
Henee, on the aaaemUingof pariianient, after the Dsnal receaa, 
JaaoBTj SOthi 1776k iriieii the minister had laid the pa/tcra 
ralatiiig to America befon the hoiue. Lord Chatham rose, and 
KOTod, ** that an bnmble addreaa be preaented to hta majca^, 
to direet the ramoral of fail majesty's troops from Boston) in 
Older to open the way towarda a aettlement of the dangt rona 
tnablea in America." 

** Mj lordi,'' wja CSialham, ** these papers from Ami riea, 
now laid by the adminiatratlon for the first lime befdre your 
lordahipai bare been, to my knowledge, five or six weeks in 
die pocket of the minlater. And notwithstanding the fate of 
Ihia kingdom hangs upon the erent of this great controversy, 
we are but this moment called to a consideration of this im- 
portant subjecL 

** Hy lordi, I do not wish to look into one of these papers. 
1 know their eonteats, well enough, already. I know, that 
there ia not a member in this house, but is acquainted with 
their purport, alao. There ought, therefore, to be no delay 
In entering upon this matter. We ought to proceed to it im- 
mediately. We ought to seize the first moment to open the 
door of reeonciliatioD. The Americans will never be in a 
temper or state to be reconciled — they ought not to be — till 
the troops are withdrawn. The troops are a perpetual irrita- 
<ion to those people ; they are a bar to all confidence, and all 
cordial reconcilement. 

" The way," he said, " must be immediately opened for 
reconciliation. It will soon be too late. I know not who 
adrised the present measures ; I know not who advises to 
■ perseverance and enforcement of them ; but this I will say, 
ihat whoever advises them, ought to answer for it at hia 
utmost periL I know that no one will avow that he advised, 
or that he was the author of ihesemeasurcs; every one shrinks 
from the charge. But somebody hag advised his majesty to 
, and if he continues to hear such evil coon* 


i9 niTBOPuonom 

■ellorai faifl majeiiy wiQ be undone. Hii majesty majy indeed, 
wear his erown« but the American jewel oat of it, it will nol 
be worth the wearing. What more shall I say t I mwl 
not say, the king is betrayed ; but this I will say, the nation 
ia ruined. What foundation hare we for our claims over 
America ? What is our right to persist in such cruel and 
vindictive measures, against that loyal, respectable people t 

**My lords, deeply impressed wiUi the importance of 
taking some healing measures, at this most alarming, dia- 
tracted state of our affairs, though bowed down with a cruel 
disease, I have crawled to this house, to gi?e you my best 
counsel and experience : and my advice is, to beseech his 
majesty to withdraw his troops. This is the best I can think 
o£ It will convince America, that you mean to try her cause, 
in the spirit, and by the laws of freedom and fair inquiry, and 
not by codes of blood. How can she now trust you, with 
the bayonet at her breast T She has all the reason in the 
■world, now, to believe you mean her death or bondage. 
Thus entered on the threshold of tliis business, I will knock 
at your gates for justice, without ceasing, unless inveterate 
infirmities stay my hand. My lords, I pledge myself never 
to leave this business. I will pursue it to the end in every 
shape. I win never fail of my attendance on it, at every step 
and period of this great matter, unless nailed down to my 
bed by the severity of disease. My lords, there is no time 
to be lost ; every moment is big with dangers. Nay, while 
I am now speaking, the decisive blow may be struck, and 
millions involved in the consequences. The very first drop 
of blood will make a wound, that will not easily be skinned 
over. Years, perhaps ages, will not heal it : it will be im- 
nudicdbile vulnus : a wound of that rancorous, malignant, 
corroding, festering nature, that in all probability, it will 
mortify the whole body. Let us then, my lords, set to this 
business in earnest ! not take it up by bits and scraps, as 
formerly, just as exigencies pressed, without any regard to 
general relations, connexions, and dependencies. I would 
not, by any thing I have said, my lords, be thought to encou- 
rage America to proceed beyond the right line. I reprobate 

•n Beta of Tiolence by lier BMbility. Bat vlnn her {nbenat 
GoiMti totional riKfau an inraded, Ibose rigfati ihe hai an equit»- 
Ue ckim to enjoy by tbe fmiiUmcntBl laws of th« Eoftish coin 
ititution, and which are mgrafted thneon by the nnalteraUi 
kwaof nature ; then I own myself an American, and feeling ray- 
arif raefa, Aall to the verge of my life vindicate ihoM righte 
^aiut all men, who strire to tnmplenpon,or opposethem.** 
TUa motion of Lord CSiadiami oftred not leaa fh>m a rfr 
gard to the weUaie of England, than from a conrictioii of ber 
impolitic and cmel oppmaion of the eoloniata, — and ntp- 
ported by all the eloquence of which that diitinguiBhed ora- 
tor was master, was, nevertheleat, reacted by a large majori- 
ty. Allhongh thus defeated, he was sllD determined, if po^ 
•iUe, to aare his conntry from the erils which his prophetie 
^ance saw in certain prospect, nnlen they should be timaty 
averlod. Hence, shortly afterwards, he introdneed into par- 
Uament bis conciliatory bill. While this bill maintained th« 
dependence of the coloniea upon the imperial crown, and the' 
right of parliament to make laws to bind them in all cases, 
tOQching the general interests of the British empire, itdeclared 
that that body had no right to tax the colonies without their 

To such a propositiDn the ministiy were not prepared to 
listen. They were determined to admit no bill, which had 
for its object the relinquishment of any of their fovonrite doc- 
trines, or which, by implication, should impeach the wisdom 
or justice of the course they had pursued. Nay, they had 
now formed their plan, and were prepared to announce it. 
Coercion wag to be their motto, until, in the spirit of sub- 
mission, America sfaoald lay herself down st their feet 

In accordance with the above declaration, a bill was soon 
sfter passed by the parliament, restricting the trade of the 
colonies of Hsssachusetts, Connecticut, New-Hampshire, and 
Rhode Island, to Great Britain, Ireland, and Ihe West Indies, 
and prohibiting their carrying on any fisherieson the banks of 
HewfiMmdland, and other places for a limited time, llo 
sanu restricliiHia were soon after extandod to all the eolo- 
riea, i^mMnlad in the oongrasa at FUladdpUa, i 


excepUon of New-York and North Carolimu B7 (hwe re 
■trictions, it was thought to st&rre the coloniea into obedi^ 
ence uid eobmiBaion, from a miatakea apprehenaion tbat 
the people were dependent upon the fisheries for their anp- 

It was a general undentanding among (he coloniBts, that 
hoBtiliiies should not be commenced hy them. It was, indeed, 
apparent, that the day of blood was not far distant, but that 
blood vas to be first shed by the hands of the English. In 
the mean time, they were not inactiTe in the work of prepa- 
ration. The munitions of war were collected and stored at 
different points, as necessity and safety seemed to require. 
Among the places of depoaite in Massachusetts, were Wor- 
cester and Concord, and thither considerable stores of arms 
and provisions had been conveyed. 

In the mean time, the vigilance of General Gage was not 
abated. Excited by the loyalists, who had persuaded him 
that he would find no resistance from the cowardice of tha 
patriots, he resolved to send a few companies to Concord, 
in a secret manner, to seize the military stores deposited 
there ; and either to transport them to Boston, or to destroy 
ihem. Accordingly, on the evening of the 18th of April, 1715, 
a detachment moved from Boston for this purpose, and the 
next day occurred the memorable battle of Lexington, in 
which the British were the aggressors, by first firing on tfae 
militia collected at that place. 

The deUils of this opening scene of (he revolutionary w«r 
are too well known, to require a recital in this place. Re- 
pulsed, harassed, and fatigued, the British, with n? inconsi- 
derable loss, returned to Boston, after having accomplished 
their object. 

The provincial congress of Massachusetts was, at this time, 
in session at Watertown, ten miles distant from Boston. They 
immediately resolved that a levy of thirteen thousand men 
should he made. At the same time, the treasurer was directed 
to borrow 100,000/. for the use of the province ; and they d«- 
claied the citizens were absolved from aU obligations of obe- 
dienn 10 OoTsmor Otge. Ai the news of Iha b«Ul« vt 


ZjCxiDgton ipread round the conntiy, a imiverul Bidonr in- 
fluned Ihe minds of the inhabitants ; and shortly after, were 
assembled, in the neighbourhood of Boaton, Uiirty Uiousand 
men, ready, should occasion require, to do justice to them- 
selres and their country. 

In this critical state of public afiairs, congress again Bssam- 
bled at Philadelphia, on the 10th of May. An official account 
of the late aggreGsions of his majesty's troops in Massachn- 
setts, was soon after laid before them ; upon which ii was 
unanimously resolved to place the colonies in a state of de- 
fence. To the colony of New-York, which had solicited the 
adrice and direction of congresa, in anticipation of the speedy 
arriral of foreign troops, they recommended a course of action 
entirely on the defensire. They were, however, adrised to 
remove all military stores, and to provide a place of re- 
treat for their women and children ; to hold themselves in 
readiness for the protection of the city; and, in the event of 
hostilities, lo meet the enemy with promptness and decision. 

To some of the members of congress, it appeared desirable 
to make yet another attempt at reconciliation with the British 
government. Justice, indeed, required no such advance; and 
by many the measure was considered only as a work of supe- 
rerogation. They were willing, however, while raising the 
sword with one hand, to extend the olive branch with the 
other ; and, though driven to the necessity of forcibly vindi- 
cating their rights, they were still disposed to secure them, 
if possible, by a firm remonstrance. Yielding, therefore, to 
the pacific wishes of several members, they prepared an ad- 
dress to the king, by way of solemn appeal, and a second ad- 
dress to the people of Great Britain. 

Towards the king, they yet used the language of loyalty 
and aflcclion ; and assured him, notwithn landing the injuries 
they had sustained, and the grievous oppressions under which 
they were snfTering, they still wished for peace ; and if re- 
dfeased in respect to their wrongs, and secured in the just 
right* of subjects, they would manifest towards him all the 
a&ctioD and devotion which a sovereign could require. 
In iheir ftddrew to the inhabitants of Great Britain, «Aar 


recapitulation former injaries, and stating more recent acts of 
faoBftlity, thej aak : " Can the descendanta of Britain tamelT- 
submit to thiaT No, we never will ; while we revere the me- 
inorjr of onr gallant and virtuous ancestors, we never can sur- 
render those glorious privileges for which they fought, bled( 
and conquered. Admit that your fleets and armies can destroy 
our towns, and ravage our coasts : diese are inconsiderable 
objects, things of no moment, to men whose bosoms glow 
with the ardour of liberty. We con retire beyond the reach 
of your navy, and, without any sensible dimination of the 
necessaries of life, enjoy a luxury which, from that period, you 
will want — the luxury of being free." They again repel the 
charge of aiming at independence : 

" Our enemies," say they, " charge us with sedition. In 
what does it consist T In our refusal to submit to unwarrant- 
able acts of injustice and cruelty T If so, show us a period in 
your history in which you have not been equally seditious. 

"We are accused of aiming at independence ; but how it 
this BccusBtion supported t By the allegations of your minis- 
ters, not by our actions. Abused, insulted, and contemned, 
what steps have we pursued to obtain redress ? We have 
carried our dutiful petitions to the throne. We have applied 
to your justice for relicts We have retrenched our luxury, 
and withheld our trade. 

" The advantages of our commerce were designed as a com- 
pensation for your protection : when you ceased to protect, 
for what were we to compensate ! 

" What has been the success of our endeavours T The el^ 
mency of our sovereign ia unhappily diverted; our petitions 
are treated with indignity; our prayers answered byinaulta. 
Our application to you remains unnoticed, and leaves us the 
melancholy apprehension of your wanting either the will, or 
the power, to assist us." 

After reminding them, that the loss of liberty in America 
would only be a prelude to its loss in Great Britain, they con- 
clude: "A cloud hangs over your head and ours; ere this 
reaches you, it may probably burst upon us ; let us then, (be- 
fore the remembiwice of former kindnesa ie oblitented,) once 


nore repeat theie appeUationa, which are erer gntafnl to our 
Mrs ; let ns entreat heaven to avert our ruin* and the deatruc- 
tion that threatens our friends, brethren, and coontiymen, on 
the other ride of the Atlantic." 

Having thus done all which the most scrnpuious conscience 
could demand, congress proceeded to adopt measures to place 
the country in a proper attitude of defence, hj organizing an 
army, and appointing the necessary military officers. On the 
I6th of June, George Washington, by the united voice of 
congress, was appointed commander-in-chief of the army 
then raised, or to be raised, for the defence of American li- 

Washington was, at that time, a member of congress, and 
in a measure prepared to decide on the important question of 
acceptance. On the day following, he appeared in the housei 
and, standing in his place, said, that he thanked congress for 
the honour ihey had conferred upon him ; but that he felt 
great distress, from a consciousness that his abilities and mi- 
Utary experience were not equal to the extensive and impor- 
tant tiusf, "however, as the congress desire it, I will enler 
upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess 
in their service, and for the support of the glorious cause. I 
beg they will accept my most cordial thanks for this distin- 
guished testimony of their approbation. 

" But lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavourable 
to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered by every gen- 
tleman in the room, that I this day declare, with the utmost 
sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am 
honoured with. 

" As to pay, sir, I beg leave to assure the congress, that as 
no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to accept 
ibis arduous employment, at the expense of my domestic ease 
■ndhappiness, Idonotwish to make any profit from it; I will 
keep an exact account of my expenses. These, I doubt not, 
they wilt discharge, and that is all I desire." 

During the winter of 1T76, the subject of a Declaration 
•r Independence, occupied the attention of many men in 
aO parta of the country. The ablest pens also were ei 


OD this nomentoni m^ject The propriety m>J noectwty of 
Am meunre wu enforced in die manerotu gaxettes, end in 
pamphlets. Among the iatteri Common Senaei from the 
popular pen of Thomas Paine, produced a wonderful effect 
in the different colonies in faroor of independence. Inftuen- 
tial indiriduals urged it as a step absolutely necesaary to pre- 
serre the rights and liberties of America, and effectually 
secure her happiness and prosperity. 

In the ensuing spring, seTeial of the colonies, by means of 
iheir assemblies, expressed their sentiments in favour of in* 
dependence, and instructed their delegates in the general con- 
gress to propose to that respectable body, to declare tho 
united colonies free and independent states. 

On the seventh of June, Richard Henry Lee, one of the 
delegates from Virginia, brought the great question of indepen- 
dence before the house, by submitting the following resolu- 
tion : " That these united colonies are, and of right ought to 
be, free and independent states -, that they are absolved from 
all allegiance to the British crown, and that all poUtical con- 
nexion between them and the state of Great Britain is, and 
ought to be, totally dissolved." 

This resolution was postponed until the next day, when It 
was debated in committee of the whole. On the 10th, it was 
adopted by a bare majority of the colonies. To give time for 
greater unanimity, the resolution was postponed in the house, 
until the first of July. In the mean time, a committee, consist- 
ing of Mr. JeSerson, John Adams, Dr. Franklin, Hr. Sher- 
man, and R. R. Livingston, was appointed to prepare a 
declaration of independence. The committee thus appointed, 
selected Mr. Adams and Mr. JeSeraon, as a sub-committee. 
The draft made by Mr. Jefferson, was the one reported to 
congress. It was discussed on the second, and third, and 
fonrlh days of the month, in committee of the whole ; and on 
the last of those days, being reported from that committee, it 
received the final approbation and sanction of congress. It 
was ordered at the same time, that copies be sent to the seve- 
ral slates, and that it be proclaimed at the head of the army. 
Tho declaration Ihua published, did not bear the namea of Ih* 


memben, tor as yet it had not been signed by them. It waa 
aathcDticated, like other papers of the congress, by the aigna* 
tore* of the president and secretary. On the 19th of July, 
ai appears by the secret journal, congress " Resolved, That 
the declaration, passed on the fourth, be fairly engroased on 
parchment, with the title and style of ■ The unanimous decla- 
ration of the thirteen United Statee of America ;' and that the 
same, when engrossed, be signed by erery member of con- 
gress." And on the second day of August following, the 
dectaiation being engrossed and compared at the table, was 
signed by the members. 

The declaration thus adopted, and which gare birth to a 
new empire, was as follows : 

" Wheh, in the course of human evento, it becomes ne- 
ces&ary ibr one people to diasolve the political bands which 
hftve connected them with another, and to assume, among 
the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to 
which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, 
a decent respect to the opinions of mankind, requires that 
they should declare the causes which impel them to the 

" We hold these truths to be self-evident : — that all men 
are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator 
with certain unalienable rights ; that amon^ these are life, 
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these 
rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their 
just powers from the consent of the governed ; that when- 
ever any form of government becomes destructive of these 
ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and 
to institute a new govermnent, laying its foundation on such 
principles, and organizing its powers In such form, as to 
them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happi- 
tiess. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that governments long 
«etablished should not be changed for light and transient 
causes ; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that 
mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are suffera- 
I 6' 

f9 imrntowmaTwomn 

biBp tiflui lo ijglit tbeniidyet by alxjfiri^ 
Aey are accuitoiiied. Bat when a knag tram (rf abuses and 
usiirpatioiifly panning mvariably the same object, evmees a 
design to redace them under absdute despotism, it is ibexr 
rig^ it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to 
proijde new guards for their future security. Such has 
been the patient sufferance of these colonies ; and such is 
now the necessity which constrains them to alter their 
fiirmer systems of government The history of the present 
king of Great Britain, is a history of repeated injuries and 
usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of 
an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let 
fiu^ts be submitted to a candid world. 

** He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome 
and necessary for the pubfic good. 

^^ He has forbidden Us governors to pass laws of immedkte 
and pressmg importance, unless suspended in their operation, 
till his assent should be obtained ; and when so suspended, 
he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused 
to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts 
of people, unless those people would relinquish the right oi 
representation in the l^;i8lature — a right inestimable tothenu 
and formidable to tyrants only. 

<^ He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, 
lucomfortable, and distant from the repository of their pub- 
lic records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into com* 
pliance with his measures. 

" He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for 
opposing, with manly fimmess, his invasions on the rights of 
the people. 

*^ He has refused, for a long time after such dissolutbns, to 
cause others to be elected ; whereby the legislative powers, 
incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at 
large, for their exercise, the state remaining, in tiie mean 
time, exposed to all the dangers of invasbn finom without, 
and convulakms within. 

** He hu eaAe u a an i to pramit flu popnbtim of Akm 
^ttetf for that pnrpoH obstructui^ the fam for Bataralin- 
timi of fordgiten ; refunng to paas othen to encoange thsir 
■HgntioB Idtbera and raidng the oooditiou of newappropiu. 

*■ He baj ob rtm ct e d the adnumstntion of jmtiee, by t»*. 
tauBf hm aneaf to laws for eatabliahiiif jnAckiy powen. 

"He haf made jui^ea dependent on Us iriDakme, for tbo 
tenure of their officet, and die amonnt and payment df tbtir 

** He hat erected a moltitiide of neir offieei ; sod aent 
*Uther swanns of officen^ to baran our people, and eat oat 
their mbatance. 

" He hu kept among na, in times of peace, standiig ar> 
rniei^ widioatthe etmsent of our legialatnres. 

** He haa a&cted to render the military independent o^ 
and superior to, the trril power. 

" He haa combined with others to subject as to a iuiisdic- 
tion forc^ to oar constitutioii, and unacknowledged by 
onr laws ; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legis- 

" For quartering lai^ bodies of armed troops among us : 

" For protecting tbem, by a mock trial, from punishment 
for any murders which they should commit on the inhabi- 
tants of these states: 

" For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world : 

- For impoang taxes on us without our consent : 

" For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial 
by jury: 

** For transporting as beyond seas to be tried for pretend- 
ed ofiences: 

" For aboHstung the free system of EngMi laws in a 
neighbouring province, establishing therein an arbitrary go- 
vemment, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at 
once an example and fit instrument for introducii^ the same 
abiolate rule into these colonies : 

68 nfTEODmnov* 

<(Por taldog away our charteni aboSsbbip our Inosl 
valuable lawi, and altering, fundamentally, the foraui of our 
govenunents : 

*<For suspending our own legisktuiefl, and declaring 
ihemsehres invested with power to lepslate for us in all cases 

** He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out 
of his protection, and waging war against us. 

'^ He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt 
our towns, and destroyed the lives of pur people. 

** He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign 
mercenaries to complete the works of death, descdation^ and ' 
tyranny, already begun, with circumstances of cruelty and 
peifidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous agdi, and 
totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation. 

^* He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on 
the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become 
the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall 
themselves by their hands. 

** He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and 
has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers 
the mereUess Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare 
18 an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and con- 

*^ In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned 
for redress in the most humble terms : our repeated petitions 
have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, 
whose character is thus marked by every act which may 
define a tyrant, is imfit to be the ruler of a free people. 

^^ Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British 
brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, 
of attempts by their legislature to extend an imwarrantable 
jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the cur- 
cumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We 
have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and 
we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred 


to Anvow Aese onupatknis, which would inevitably inteiw 
rapt our anuiexions and correspondence. They too hava 
been deaf to the rcnce of joatice and of consangumity. We 
moflt* therefore, acqiuesce in the necesri^ wluch denotmeea 
our sepuation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of man* 
kfaid — esenuei m war, in peace friends. 

"We, diereibre, die repreaentatirea of the United Statesof 
America, in general congr ew anembled, appeafing Iq the 
Sopreme Judge of the worid for the rectitade (rf'oiir mten- 
tionfl, do, hi the name and by the anthority of the good peo-' 
pie of theae eokmiea, aolenmly poblish and declare, that 
these onited colonies are, and of right ought to be, free aad 
independent states ; that they are absoVed frcnn all alb- 
giance to Ha British crown, uid that all poMcal connexion 
between them and the state of Great Brit^ is, and ought to 
be, totally dissolved ; and that, as iree and independent 
states, they have full power to levy war, conclude pChce, 
contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other 
acts and things, which independent states may of right do. 
And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance 
CHI the protection of IMnne Froridence, we mutually pledge 
to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our saend 


were laid upon their commerce and manufactures ; when, bj 
taxation, their resources were attempted to be withdrawn, and 
the doctrine inculcated, that it was rebellion for them to think 
and act for themselves' 

It was fi>rtiniate for the Amerkans, ihat thej understood 
their own rights, and had the courage to assert them* But 
eren at the time of the declaration of independence, just as 
was the cause of the colonies, it was doubtful how the contest 
would terminate. The chance of eventual success was against 
them. Less than three millions of people constituted their 
population, and these were scattered over a widely ex« 
tended territory. They were dividid into colonies, which 
nad no political character, and no other bond of union than 
common sufferings, common danger, and common necessities. 
They had no veteran army, no navy, no arsenals filled with 
the munitions of war, and no fortifications on their extended 
coast. They had no overflowing treasuries ; but in the out- 
set, were to depend upon loans, taxation, and voluntary con- 

Thus circumstanced, could success in such a contest be rea- 
sonably anticipated ? Could they hope to compete with the 
parent country, whose strength was consolidated by the lapse 
of centuries, and to whose wealth and power so many mil- 
lions contributed ? That country directed, in a great measure, 
the destinies of Europe : her influence extended to every 
quarter of the world. Her armies were trained to the art of 
war ; her navy rode in triumph on every sea ; her statesmen 
were subtle and sagacious ; her generals skilful and practised* 
And more than all, her pride was aroused by the fact, that all 
Europe was an interested spectator of the scene, and was 
urging her forward to vindicate the policy she had adopted, 
and the principles which she had advanced. 

But what will not union and firmness, valour and patriotism, 
accomplish? What will not faith accomplish? The colonies 
were, indeed, aware of the crisis at which they had arrived. 
They saw the precipice upon which they stood. National 
existence was at stake. Life, and liberty, and peace, were at 
hazard ; not only those of the generation which then existed* 

.-^.. - ,,.= gjitj jiromiac oi 

c importance and rcspeclabilily, the jealouay of Great Bri- 
tain V3S cscited. and the counsels of her atatesmen were em- 
ployed to keep lliem in humble subjection. Thia was the object, 
wiiea royalty grasped at iheir charlcra; when reBtrictioiis 


iht force with which he wrote, he eeems to haTe detarmiiied 
that his name should never be erased.* 

This gentleman, who, from his conspieuons station in the 
continental congress of 1776, claims our first notice, waa 
bom in the town of Qnincy, in the state of Massachusetts, in 
the year 1737. Both his father and grandfather were dergj- 
men, distinguished for great devotion to the duties of their 
profession, and for the happy influence which they exercised 
OTer those to whom they ministered* Of his father it is re- 
corded, that he evinced no common devotion to learning, to 
which cause he rendered essential service, by the patronage 
that he gave to the literary institutions of his native state. 

Of so judicious a counsellor, young Hancock was deprived^ 
while yet a child , but happily he was adopted by a paternal 
uncle, Thomas Hancock, the most opulent merchant in Bos^ 
ton, and the most enterprising in New-England. Mr. Thomas 
Hancock was a man of enlarged views ; and was distinguished 
by his liberality to several institutions, especially to Harvard 
college, in which he founded a professorship, and in whose 
library his name is still conspicuous as a principal bcnefiictor. 

Under the patronage of the uncle, the nephew received a 
liberal education in the above university, where he was 
graduated in 1754. During his collegiate course, though res- 
pectable as a scholar, he was in no wise distinguished, and at 
that time, gave little prombe of the eminence to which he af- 
terwards arrived. 

On leaving college, he was entered as a clerk in the count- 
ing house of his uncle, where he continued till 1760 ; at which 
time he visited England, both for the purposes of acquiring 
information, and of becoming personally acquainted with the 
distinguished correspondents of his patron. In 1764, he re- 
turned to America ; shortly after which his uncle died, leaving 
to his nephew his extensive mercantile concerns, and his 
princely fortune, then the largest estate in the province. 

To a young man, only twenty-seven, this sudden possession 

*Tbe p«n, with which these ■ignainree were mode, hu heen prceervcc^ 
aadia Btfw in the cahinct of tbs Massachmettg Hiitorical Society. 


JoKM Hancock, 

Sahukl Adams, 
JoBKg Adams, 
RoBEKT Tkeat Paine, 
Elbridoe Gexrt. 


The erenta leading to the declaration of independence, 
which hnre been rapidly paised in review, in the preceding 
pages, hare brought ns to the more particular notice of those 
diitingaiBhed men. who signed their names to that inatniment, 
and thns identified themselves with the gloiy of this Ameri- 
can repablic. 

If the world has seldom witnessed a train of erenta of a 
more novel and interesting character, than those which led 
to thedeclaralionof American independence, it has, perhaps, 
never seen a body of men, placed in a more difficult and res- 
ponsible situation, than were the signers of that instrument 
And certainly, the world has never witnessed a more brilliant 
eihibilioii of political wisdom, or a brighter example of firm- 
ness and courage. 

The first instant the American colonies gave promise of 
future importance and respectability, the jealousy of Great Bri- 
tain was excited, and the counsels of her statesmen were em- 
ployed to keep them in humble subjection. This was iheobject, 
vfaen royalty grasped at their charters ; when reatrictions 

It MAMAcamrtn bblmatioh. 

wimaltble. But dw tnnnclioB coatiibnted graitly to bring 
him into notice, uui to increaae hia popnlaritjr. 

Thlai and Mvenl rimil&r occnrrencei, Mired u m pretext to 
the goTomor to introduce into Boeton, not long after, urenl 
regiments of British troops ; a measure which was fitted more 
than all others to irritate the inhabitants. Frequent colll- 
flions, ae might be expected, soon happened between the aol- 
dien and the citizena, the former of whom were insolent, and 
the latter independent These contentions not long after 
broke out into acts of Tiolence. An unhappy instance of this 
Tiolence occurred on the erening of the Kth of March, 1770^ 
•t which time, a small party of British soldiers was assailed 
by aerenl of the citizens, with balls of snow, and other 
weapons. The citizens were fired upon by order of the com- 
manding officer : a few were killed, and seretal others were 

Althongh the proToeaiion, in this instance, was giren by 
the citizens, the whole town wag simultaneously aroused to 
seek redress. At the instigation of Samuel Adams, and Hr. 
Hancock, an assembly of the citizens was conrened the fol- 
lowing day, and these two gentlemen, with some others, were 
appointed a committee to demand of the governor the re- 
moral of the troops. Of this committee, Mr. Hancock was 
the chairman. 

A few days after the above affray, which is usually termed 
** the Boston massacre," (Be bodies of the slain were buried 
with suitable demonstrations of public grief. In commemo- 
ratioD of the event, Mr. Hancock was appointed to deliver an 
address. After speaking of his atlachment to a righteotu 
government, and of his enmity to tyranny, he proceeded in 
the following animated strain: "The town of Boston, ever 
fiuthful to the British crown, has been invested by a British 
fleet; the troopeof George the third have crossed the Atlantic, 
not to engage an enemy, but to assist a band of traitors in 
trampling on the rights and liberties of his most loyal subjects; 
those rights and liberties, which, as a father, he ought ever to 
regard, and as a king; he is bound in honour to defend from 
violation, even at the risk of his own life. 


" These troopi, iqx>o their fint errinl, took ponesrfon of 
Mr Hnate hotiiei pointed their cannon egainat the jndgment 
1«11, end eren eontirined them there, whilit die snpreme court 
of the province wu actually aitting to decide upon the lire* 
■nd fortunea of the kiug'a aol^ecta. Onr atreets nightly re- 
■ounded with the noiae of their riot and debauchery ; our 
peaceful cidxena irere hourly ezpoaed to ahameftal inaults, end 
often felt the eflecta of their violence and outrage. But thia 
vaa not all; aa though they thought it not enough to violate 
onr civil itghla, they endeavoured to deprive us of the enjoy- 
Bient of OUT religioua privileges ; to vitiate our morals, and 
thereby render us deserving of destruction. Hence the rude 
din of anna, which broke in upon your solemn derotiona in 
your templea, on that day hallowed by heaven, and eet apart 
by God himself for his peculiar worship. Hence, Impioua oaths 
and blasphemtee, so oflen tortured your unaccuetomed ear 
Hence, all the arts which idleness and luxury could invent, 
were used to betray our youth of one sex into extravagance 
and effeminacy, and of (he other to infamy and ruin ; and have 
they not succeeded but too well T Has not a reverence for 
religion sensibly decayed! Have not our in&nts almost learn- 
ed 10 lisp curses, before they knew their horrid import f Have 
not our youth forgotten they were Americans, and regardless 
of the admonitions of the wise and aged, copied, with a servile 
imitation, the frivolity and vices of their tyrants t And must I 
be compelled to acknowledge, that even the noblest, fair- 
est part of all creation, have not entirely escaped their cruel 
snares I — or why have I seen an honest father clothed with 
shame; why a virtuous mother drowned in tearat 

" But I forbear, and come reluctantly to the transactions of 
that dismal night, when in such quick succeasion we felt the 
extremes of grief^ astonishment, and rage ; when heaven in 
anger, for a dreadful moment suffered hell to take the reins; 
when Batan, with hia chosen band, opened the sluices of New- 
England's blood, and sacrilegiously polluted our land with the 
dead bodies of her guiltless sons. 

"Let this sad tale of death never be told, without a tear; 
let not the heaving bosom cease to bum with a manly indigna- 



tbn at the relation of it» through the long tracks of ftitore 
tune ; let erery parent tell the shameful story to his listening 
children» till tears of pitj glisten in their eyes, or boiling pas* 
sion shakes their tender frames. 

** Dark and designing knayes, murderers, parricides ! How 
dare you tread upon the earth, which has drunk the blood of 
tdaughtered innocence shed hj your hands? How dare you 
breathe that air, which wafted to the ear of heayen the groans 
of those who fell a sacrifice to your accursed ambition ? — ^But 
if the labouring earth doth not expand her jaws; if the air you 
breathe is not commissioned to be the minister of death ; yet, 
hear it, and tremble 1 The eye of heayen penetrates the dark- 
est chambers of the soul; and you, though screened from 
human obseryation, must be arraigned, must lift your hands, 
red with the blood of those whose death you haye procured, at 
the tremendous bar of God. 

**But I gladly quit thb theme of death — ^I would not dwell 
too long upon the horrid effects, which haye already followed, 
from quartering regular troops in this town ; let our misfor- 
tunes instruct posterity to guard against these erils. Stand- 
mg armies are sometimes, (I would by no means say general- 
ly, much less universally,) composed of persons who haye 
rendered themselves unfit to live in civil society ; who are 
equally indifferent to the glory of a George, or a Louis ; who 
for the addition of one penny a day to their wages, would de- 
sert from the Christian cross, and fight under the crescent of 
the Turkish sultan ; from such men as these what has not a 
state to fear ? With such as these, usurping Ctesar passed the 
Rubicon ; with such as these he humbled mighty Rome, and 
forced the mistress of the world to own a master in a traitor. 
These are the men whom sceptred robbers now employ to 
frustrate the designs of God, and render vain the bounties 
which his gracious hand pours indiscriminately upon his 

Previously to this address, doubts had been entertained by 
some, as to the perfect patriotism of Mr. Hancock. It was 
said that the governor of the province had, either by studied 
dvilitiesi or by direct oyertures, endeavoured to attach him to 

tbe rofil ODM. For s time uuinnatioiu of thii dcrogttoiy 
^■neter wore eirctthtod abroad, highly detrinenUl to fab 
fta& ^e muiBert and hslnU of Mr. Hancock hadt not > 
Httle, contribnted to connlanuiefl the nuHcioni imputatiaiis 
Hii fortmte wu princelj. Hii nundon diapUjad the maf 
■ifieenee of a conrtier, rather than the simpUcitj of a repob 
lican. Gold and siiver embroidery adorned hii gatmenlai 
■nd on public oecaaiona, hli carriage and horaea, and aerrantv 
in lirer)r, emulated the splendour of the EngUah aobilitf. 
Hm eyv MKaTj aaw not thia magnificence widi indidereaee , 
aor was it alranie thnt reporta tmfriendlf to hla patriotic in- 
tegri^ ahoold hare been circulated abroad ; eapeeiallj ai from 
Ua wealth and ftahionable intoreooraef be had more eo»- 
nezion with the goremor and hia party than many olhara. 

Tlw aentimenta, howerer, ezpreaaed by Hancock in Urn 
•bore addreaa, were ao czj^icit and ao patriotic, aa to conTinee 
(he most incrednlons ; and a renoration of his popnlarity was 
the consequence. 

Hancock, from this time, became aa odious to tbe royal go- 
vemorand his adherentSi as he was dear to the republican party. 
It now became an object of some importance to the royal go- 
Temor, to get poBsessiou of the persona of Mr. Hancock and 
Bsmuel Adams ; and this is said to hare been intended in the 
eipedition to Concord, which led to the memoiabte battle of 
Lexington, Uie opening scene of the rerolndonary war. Not- 
vithstanding the secrecy with wfaiah that expedition was plan- 
ned, these patriots, who were at the time members of the pro- 
rincial congress at Concord, fortunately made their escape; 
bttt it was only at the moment the British troops entered the 
houBe where they lodged. Following tiiis battie, Goremtw 
Gage issued his proclamation, ofiering » general pardon to all 
who should manifest a proper penitence for their opposition to 
the royal authority, excepting the abore two gentiemen, whosa 
guilt placed them beyond the reach of the royal clemency. 

In October, 1T74, Hancock was unanimously elected to the 
presidential chair of the prorindal congress of MassscUusetta. 
llie following year, the still higher honour of the presidency 
of the eontioental congress was conferred npon him. In Ibin 


hodjf were men of superior genioi, and of stilf greater ezpe- 
rience than Hancock. There were Franklin, and Jeffenoh, 
and Dickinson, and many others, men of pre-eminent abilities 
and superior political sagadtj; but the recent proclamation 
of Ooremor Oage, proscribing Hancock and Adams, had 
given those gentlemen great popularity, and presented a suffi- 
cient reason to the continental congress, to express their re- 
spect for them, by the election of the former to the presiden- 
tial chair. 

In this distinguished station Hancock continued nU October, 
1177 ; at which time, in consequence of infirm health, induced 
by an unremitted application to business, he resigned his 
office, and, with a popularity seldom enjoyed by any indivi- 
dual, retired to his natiye province. 

Of the convention, which, about this time, was appointed to 
flrame a constitution for the state of Massachusetts, Hancock 
was a member. Under this constitution, in 1780, he was the 
first governor of the commonwealth, to which office he was 
annually elected, until the year 1785, when he resigned. 
After an interval of two years, he was re-elected to the same 
office, in which he was continued to the time of his death, 
which took place on the 8th of October, 1793, and in the &5th 
year of his age. 

Of the character of Mr. Hancock, the limits which we have 
prescribed to ourselves, will permit us to say but little more. 
It was an honourable trait in that character, that while he pos- 
sessed a superfluity of wealth, to the unrestrained enjoyment 
of which he came at an unguarded period of life, he avoided 
excessive indulgence and dissipation. His habits, through 
Hfe, were uniformly on the side of virtue. In his disposition 
and manners, he was Icind and courteous. He claimed no 
superiority from his advantages, and manifested no arrogance 
on account of his wealth. 

His enemies accused him of an excessive fondness for 
popularity ; to which fondness, envy and malice were not 
backward in ascribing his liberality on various occasions. 
Whatever may have been the justice of such an imputation, 
many examples of the generosity of his character are record- 

*-^/7 ffr,-yr//t.r> 



»il. ilundteda of families. It is said, in limes of distress, were 
iltilj' fed from iiis munificence. In promoiing tlie liberlics of 
bit eouaUy. no oae, perhaps, actually cirpended more w^tb. 

Aine Important a 

Mcli conlrlbutpd Iiia portion of ii 

liiStred, as star differelh from star ir 


ed. Himdredfl of familiesy it is said, in times of distress, were 

daily fed from his munificence. In promoting the liberties of 

his country, no one, perhaps, actually expended more wealth, 

or was willing to make greater sacrifices. An instance of his 

public spirit, in 177&« is recorded, much to his praise. 

At that time, the American army was besieging Boston, to 
expel the British, who held possession of the town. To ac- 
complish this object, the entire destruction of the city was 
proposed by the American officers. By the execution of such 
at plan, the whole fortune of Mr. Hancock would have been 
sacrificed. Yet he immediately acceded to the measure, de- 
c^laring.his readiness to surrender his all, whenever the liber* 
^ei of his country should require it. 

It is not less honourable to the character of Mr. Hancock, 
tXttt while wealth and independence powerfully tempted him to 
& li& of indolence, he devoted himself for many years, almost 
^thout intermission, to the most laborious serrice of his 
conatiy. Maleyolencc, during some periods of his public life, 
aspersed his character, and imputed to him motives of con- 
duct to which he was a stranger. Full justice was done to 
his memory at his death, in the expressions of grief and affec- 
tion which were offered over his remains, by the multitudes 
who thronged his house while his body lay in state, and who 
followed his remains to the grave. 


Amono those who signed the declaration of independence, 
^ were conspicuous in the revolution, there existed, of 
^urse, a great diversity of intellectual endowments ; nor 
^d all render to their country, in those perilous days, the 
**»ne important services. Like the luminaries of heaven, 
^ch contributed his portion of influence; but, like them, they 
differed, as star diffcreth from star in glory. But in the con- 


ttellation of gremt men, which adorned that era» fow ahona 
with more brilliancy, or exercised a more powerful iaflvenee^ 
than Samtiel Adams. 

This gentleman was bom at Qainc]r,in Maaaachosetta, 8ep> 
tember 29d» 1728, in the neighbourhood aflerwarda rendered 
memorable as the birth place of Hancock, and as the red* 
dence of the diatingdshed fiimily which has given two pre- 
aidenta to the United States. His descent waa from a re* 
apectable family, which emigrated to America with the first 
settlers of the land. 

In the year 1796, he became a member of Harvard 
Vniyersity, where he was distinguished for an uncommon 
attention to all his collegiate exercises, and for hia daasical 
and scientific attainments. On taking the degree of master. 
In 1743, he proposed the following question, ^Whether 
it be lawful to resist the supreme magbtrate, if the com- 
monwealth cannot be otherwise preserved P He main* 
tained the affirmative; and in this collegiate exercise fur- 
nished no dubious evidence of his attachment to the liberties of 
the people. 

On leaving the university, he began the study ol law, for 
which profession his father designed him ; but at the solicita- 
tion of his mother, this pursuit was relinquished, and he be- 
came a clerk in the counting house of Thomas Gushing, at 
that time a distinguished merchant. But his genius was not 
adapted to mercantile pursuits ; and in a short time after 
commencing business for himself, partly owing to the failure 
in business of a friend, and partly to injudicious management, 
he lost the entire capital which had been given him by his 

The genius of Adams was naturally bent on politics. It 
was with him an all engrossing subject. From his earliest 
youth, he had felt its inspiration. It occupied his thoughts* 
enlivened his conversation, and employed his pen. In re- 
spect to his private business, this was an unfortunate trait of 
character ; but most fortunate for his country, since he tlius 
acquired an extensive knowledge of those principles of ra- 
tional liberty, which he afterwards asserted with so much 

UHVBl ABASi. fli 

nergy, in opporidon to the arbitm? conduct of Uie Britiih 

In 1703 It wu uuiounce<), that the BritlBh miniatiy had it 
b new to " tax the colonies, for the -purpose of laiting a 
rercnne, which was to bo placed at the disposal of the 
crown." This news filled the coloniea with alarm. In Kb»< 
Mchosetta, « committee was appointed hj the people of Bos- 
ton to express the public sentiment in relation to this con- 
templated messnre, for the guidance of the representatiree to 
Ae general conrL The infltructiona of this committee were 
drawn by Mr. Adams. They formed, in truth, a powerfnl 
maonatrance againat the injustice of the contemplated system 
of taxation ; and they merit the more particular notice, as they 
were the first recorded public document) which denied the 
right of taxation to the British parliamenL They also can- 
tuned the first suggestion of the propriety of that mutual un- 
derstanding and correipondence among the colonies, which 
hid the foundation of their future confederacy. In these in- 
ttmctions, after alluding to the evils which had resulted from 
the acts of the British parliament, relating to trade, Mr. 
Adams observes : — " If our trade may bo taxed, why not our 
lands T Why not the produce of our lands, and every thing 
we possess, or use T This we conceive annihilates our char- 
ter rights to govern and tax ourselves. It strikes at our Bri- 
tish priyileges, which, aa we have never forfeited, we hold in 
common with our fellow subjects, who are natives of Britain. 
If taxes lire laid upon us in any shape, without our having a 
legal repre i en tation, where they are laid, we arereiluccd from 
ibc character of free subjecti, to the stale of tributary slaves. 
Ve, therefore, earnestly recommend it to you, to use your 
utmost endeavours to obtain from (he general court, all necee- 
nry advice and instruction to our agent, at this moat critical 
jnuctore." " We also desire you to use your endeavours, that 
the other colonies, having the same interests and rights 
with us, may add their weight to that or this province ; 
Ihat by united application of all who are agreed, all may 
obtain redress !" 

The deep interest which Mr. Adams Celt and manifested for 

M xAHAoannrTa Bmuunoii. 

die'Tighta of the eoloMioh Mon bronght bin Into fliTonr vidi 
the patriotic ptrtj. He became b leader in their popnUr »■ 
aemblie*, end was bold in denonneing the nnjut aete of the 
Britiah minis tty. 

In 1766 he waa elected a representative to the general eovrt 
of Hsaaachnwtia, from Ae town of Boaton. From thla p^ 
itod, during the whole rsTolatiooary atrugglei he waa the 
bold, perHerering, and efficient enpporter of the ri^ta of hi* 
eppresaed country. As a member of the eonrt, he aoon b» 
eame conB[riGuous, and wai honoured with the office of elerk 
to tb&t body. In die legislature) he was charaeterixed for 
the same aetinty and boldness which he had nianifeated in 
the town. He waa appointed upon almost every committeei 
asristed in drawing nearly every report, and exercised a large 
share of influence, in almost every meeting, which had for its 
object the countenction of the nujoat plans of the administn* 

But it was not in his legislative capacity alone, that Mr. 
Adams exhibited his hostility to die British government, and 
his regard for rational freedom. Several able eaaays on these 
subjects were published by him ; and he was the author of 
several plans for opposing, more successfully, the unjust do- 
signs of the mother country. He has the honour of having 
suggested the first congresB at New- York, which prepared the 
wayfor a Continental Congress, ten years after ; and at length 
for the union and confederacy of the colonies. 

The injudicious management of hia private aflairs, already 
alluded to, rendered Mr. Adams poor. When this was known 
in England, the partisans of the ministry proposed to bribe 
htm, by the gilt of some lucrative office. A suggestion of 
this kind was accordingly made to Governor Hutchinson, to 
which he replied in a manner highly complimentary to the 
integrity of Mr. Adams. " Such is the obstinacy and infiex- 
ihle. disposition of the man, that he never can be conciliated 
by any office or gift whatever." The offer, however, it is 
reported, was actually made to Mr. Adams, but neither the 
allurements of fortune or power could for a moment tempt 

fcin to sbuidoD Uw eaiue of truth, or to hazard the libertiM 
•f the people. 

He was tadeed poor ; but he could be tempted neither by 
Britiah gold, nor by the honours or profita of any office with- 
in the gift of the royal governor. Soch patriotism has not 
been common in the world ; but in America it was to be 
ibund in many a b^iom, during the reTolutiooary atmggle. 
Ihe knowledge of bets like this, greatly diminishes the won- 
der, which baa sometimes been ezpreaeed, that America 
■hoold have iucceeafully contended with Great Britain. Her 
physical strength was comparatively weak; but the moral 
eonrage of her statesmen, and her aoldlera, was to her instead 
«f numbers, of wealth, and fortifications. 

Allusion has been made, both in onr introduction, and ia 
our notice of Hancock, to the Boston massacre, in ITTO, an 
event which will long remain memorable in the annals of the 
revolution, not only as it was the first instance of bloodshed 
between the BriUsh and the Americans, but ai it conduced to 
increase the irritation, and to widen the breach between the 
two countries. ■ 

Our limits forbid a more particular account of this tragical 
a&ir ; and it is again alluded to only for the purpose of bring- 
ing more distinctly into view, the intrepid and decisive con- 
duet of Samuel Adams on that occanon. 

On the morning following this night of bloodshed, a meet- 
ing of the citizens of Boston was called. Mingled emotions 
of horror and indignation pervaded the assembly. Samuel 
Adams first arose to address the listening multitude. Few 
men conld harangue a popular assembly with greater energy, 
or exercise a more absohite control over their passions and 
iffectious. On that occasion, a Demosthenes, or a Chatham, 
eonld scarcely have addressed the assembled multitude with a 
more impressive eloquence, or have represented in a more 
jut and emphatic maimer, the fearlul crisis to which the 
l&irs of the colonies were last tending. A committee was 
Uanimonaly chosen to wait upon Governor Hutchinson, with 

* request that the troops might be immediately removed from 

the Iowa. To the request of this committee, the governor, 


wilh his usual prcTaricatioD, replied, that the troops wen nol 
subject to his order. Mr. Adunis, who waa one of this com- 
mittee. atroDgly represented to the gorernor the danger of 
retaining the troops longer in the capital. His indignation 
was aroused, and in a tone of lofty independence, he declared, 
thai the removal of the troops would alone eatiefy tiis insulted 
and indignant townsmen; it was, therefore, at the gorernor's 
peril, ihattliey were continued in the town, and Uial he alone 
must be answerable for the fatal consequences, which it ra 
quired no gift of prophecy to predict must ensue. 

It vaa now dark. The meeting of the citizens was still 
Vndisaolved. The greatest anxiety pervaded the assembly 
and scarcely were ihey restrained from going in a body to 
the governor, to learn his determination. Aware of the crili 
eal posture of sfiairs, aware of the personal hazard which h« 
eacountered by refusing « compliance, the governor at length 
gave his consent to the removal of the troops, and stipulated 
that the necessary preparations should commence on the fol- 
btwiBg monung. Tbw, Uiroiigh tbe decuiTe and ^4ritod eoa* 
duct of Bimuel Adamo, snd a few olber kindrad ipiiiitt, tW 
• brt Jn ac y of » royal gsTwnw was fobdaed, uid fluthar hos- 
tUitiea were for » e^ longer time empeuded. 

The popuUrity tnd infiuence of Mr. Adams were mpidljr 
increasing, and the importance of his being detached from the 
popular party became every day more maoifesk We bare 
•Iready notieed the luggestioa to Goremor Hutchinson to 
«Saot this, by the gift of some Incratire office Other otten 
kt a similar kind, it is reported, were made to him, at different 
tiniea, by the royal authorities, bit with the nme ill nuoawk 
About the year ITtS, Governor Oage renewed the experimenl. 
At that time Colonel Fenton was requested to wait upon Mrv 
Adams, with (fae aaanrance of Governor Gage, that any benefiio 
would bq conierred upon him which he should demand, on th» 
coaditioa of his ceasing to oi^wse the measures of the rojak. 
gOTemmcot. At the same time, it was not obscurely hinted, 
tlM stich a meaawre was neoeesary. on personal eonsidera- 
tjma. B« had incurred tlie royal displcMBure, and afareadj, 
■Mh had beftt bis conduct, that it was in the power of tfae 

gmnot to send him to England for triml, on « chwge of trM> 
MB. It wms Boggeited that a ohange in hia political coodod, 
might ravo him from this ditgnce, and even from a Mreror 
ftte ; and might olerate liim, morearer, ft-om faia circtuutan* 
en of indigence, to th« enjoyment of affluence. 

To thii proposal, Mr. Adams listened with attention; but aa 
Col. Fenton concluded his commoniutian, with all the spirit 
of a man of honour, with aO the integrity of the most incor- 
rapted end incorruptible patriotism, he replied ; " Go tell 
Goremor Gage, that my peace hai long since been made with 
fite King of kings, and that it is the adrice of Samuel Adamt 
to him, no longer to insub tMe feelings of an already exaapa- 
taXed people." 

The independence and sterling integrity of Mr. Adams, 
might well have secnred to him the reapect, and even confi- 
dence of GoTenior Oage ; but with fiir different feelings did 
he regard the noble conduct of thia high minded patriot 
Under the irritation excited by the failure of a faTourite plan, 
Goremor Gage issued a proclamation, which comprehended 
(he following language: " I do hereby," he said, " in his ma- 
jesty's name, offer and promise his most gracious pardon to 
all persons, who shall forthwith lay down their arms, and re- 
turn to the duties of peaceable lubjecls : excepting only from 
the benetita of such pardon, Saxcel Auak a, and John Han- 
cock, whose offences are of too flagitious a nature to admit of 
any other consideration but that of condign puniafament" 

Thus these independent men were singled out as the 
objects of peculiar rengeauce, and even their lives endanger- 
ed( for honourably resisting a temptation, to which, had they 
yielded, they would hare merited the reproach of their coun- 
trymen, and the scorn of the world. 

Mr. Adama was a member of the first continental congress, 
which assembled in Philadelphia on the 6th of September, 
1774 ; and continued a member of that body until the year 
I7S1. During this period, no delegate acted a more con- 
spienOns or manly part. No one exhibited a more indefati- 
gable zeal, or a firmer tone of character. He early saw that 
Ae contest would probably not be decided without bloodshed. 

Eb wif Uaudf prepared for every eztremitjt end was wiD« 
ing that such .meaaures ahoidd be adoptedi as ahoiild lead .to 
an early iasne pf the eontroTeiay. He waa aceordiai^y 
amonf the warmeat adroeatea for the dedaratfam of American 
independenee. la hia Tiew, the die waa cast, and a AirAer 
friendly connexion with the parent country waa impoaaible. 
*«,I am perfiBctly aatiafied,*' said he, in a letter written from 
Philadelphia, to a friend in Maaaachnaetta, in April, ITM^ 
^ of the neceaaity of a public and explicit dedaralion of indor 
pendence. I cannot conceiye what good reaaon can be aaaign* 
ed againat it. Will it widen the breach T Thia would be n 
atrange queation, after we haTC raiaed anniea, and fought baW 
tlea with the British troops ; set up an American navy ; permit- 
ted the inhabitants of these colonies to fit out armed TOaadih 
to capture the ahips, &c. belonging to any of the inhaUtanta of 
Great Britain ; declaring them the enemies of the UnSleil 
CSolonies ; and torn' into shivers their acts of trade, by alio winy 
commerce, subject to regulations to be made by ourselres, with 
the people of all countries, except such as are subject to the 
British king. It cannot surely, after all this, be imagined 
that we consider ourselves, or mean to be considered by 
others, in any other state, than that of independence.'* 

The independence of America was at length declared, and 
gave a new political character, and an immediate dignity to 
the cause of the colonies. But notwithstanding this measure 
might itself bear the aspect of victory, a formidable contest 
yet awaited the Americans. The year following the declara- 
tion of independence, the situation of the colonies was ex* 
tremely gloomy. The stoutest hearts trembled within them, 
and even doubts were expressed, whether the measures which 
bad been adopted, particularly the declaration of indepen 
dence, were not precipitate. The neighbourhood of Phila 
delphia became the seat of war ; congress, now reduced to 
only twenty-eight members, had resolved to remove their 
aeasion to Lancaster. At this critical period, Mr. Adama 
accidentally fell in company with several other members, by 
whom the subject of the state of the country was freely and 
confidentially discussed. Gloomy forebodings seemed to 


perrule their Iniad^ anil the greateat anxiety was exprened 
sa to the isaue of the contest 

To this canTenation, Mr. Adanu liatened with sU«nt atten- 
tion. At length he exprcaaed his anrprise, that anch despond- 
ing feelinga ahould bare settled upon their hearts, and auch 
desponding language should l>e even confidentiatlif uttered I>y 
tkeir lipa. To this it waa answered, " The chance i< despe- 
nie." "Indeed, indeed, it is desperate)" said Mr. Adams, "it 
Ihia be our l&ngnage. If we wear long races, others will do so 
too ; if we despeir, let ua not expect ihnt others will hope ; or 
dut they will perserere in a contest, from which their leaders 
ihriob. But let not snch feelings, let not such Ungnage, be 
om." Thus, while the hearts of others were, ready to bint, 
8amael Adams maintoined hia usual firmnesa. His unshakeo 
eoonige, ftnd his calm reliance upon the aid and protection of 
bnren, contributed in an eminent degree to inspire his conn- 
iiymen with a confidence of their final success. A higher 
eDcominm could not have been bestowed on any member of 
the continental congress, than is expressed in relation to Mr. 
Adams by Mr. Galloway, in hia historical and political reflee- 
lions on the riae and progreaa of the American rebellion, 
published in Great Britain, 1780. " He eata little," says the 
aothor, " drinks little, sleepa little, thlnka much, and is most 
indefatigable in the pursuit of his object. It was this man, who 
by his superior application, managed at once the factions in 
rongress at Philadelphia, and the factions of New-England." 

In 17S1, Mr. Adams retired from congress ; but it was to 
receive from hie native state, additional proofa of her high 
estimation of hia services, and of the confidence which she 
reposed in his talents and integrity He had already been an 
■ctive member of the convention that formed her constitu- 
tion -, and after it went into effect, he was placed in the se- 
nate of the state, and for several years presided over that 
body. In I7S9, he was elected lieutenant governor, and held 
ihat office till 1704; when, upon the death of Hancock, he 
»ia chosen govemor, and was annnally re-elected till 1797, 
vbca he retired from pvblie life. This retirement, however, 
H 8* 

10 MAMaABKBtmm BCLBaATlni. 

fca <lld not long enjoy, m hii detlh oecnirad on Oetobar td, 

1S08, »t tlie adraneed age of S8. 

From the fot^oing ■ketcbw of Hr. Adama, It will not be 
dIAcnIt for the reader to fonn a tolerably oorreet opinion of 
Ua ehaTMter and diapoution. In hia penon, ha ia aaid to 
bare been onfy of the middle aixe, but hia conmenanee indi- 
cated a noble geniua withiiii and a more than or^nary inflezi- 
Ulity of character and pnrpoae. Great eincerity and aimplt 
d^ marked hia manneta and deportment In hia eonreiaa- 
Hon, he vaa at once intereating and inatmetiTe ; and thoaa 
yrbo diared hia friendahip had eeldom any reaaon to donbt hia 
afiection and conatancy. His writlngi were Toluminonai but 
nnfortanateiy,. aa they generally related to the temporary 
polities of the day, moat of them are losL Those which r^ 
main fomiah abnodant proof of his anperiority as a writer, of 
the ionadneaa of hia political creed, and of the piety and do* 
eority of hia character. Aa an orator, he waa eminently flU 
ted for the stormy times in which he lired. His elocntioB' 
waa concise and impressive, partaking more of the logical 
than the figuratiTe, and rather calculated to enlighten the un- 
derstanding, than to excite the feelings. Yet no man conld 
address himself more powerfully to the pasnons, than he did, 
on certain occasions. As a statesman, his views were bioad 
and enlightened ; what his judgment had once matured, he 
pvraned with inflexible firmness, and patriotic ardour. While 
others desponded, he was full of hope; where others hesita- 
ted, he was resolute ; where othera were supine, he was eager 
for action. Hia circamstances of indigence led him to habit* 
of simplicity and frugality ; but beyond this, he was natural- 
ly averse to parade and ostentation. 

" Mr. Adams waa a christian. His mind was early imbued 
with piety, as well as cultivated by science. He early ap- 
proached the table of the Lord Jesus, and the purity of ^ 
life witnessed the sincerity of hia profession. On the chris- 
tian sabbath, he constanUy went to the temple, and the 
morning and evening 'devotions in his family proved, that hia 
reli^on attended him in hia aeaaona of retirement fir«a tbo 



world. The kst prodaction of his pen was in favour of 
Christian truth. He died in the faith of the gospel." 

In his opposition to British tyranny, no man was more 
eonscientious ; he detested royalty, and despised the ostenta- 
tion and contemptible servility of the royal agents ; his pa- 
triotism was of a pure and lofty character. For his country 
he laboured both by night and by day, with a zeal which was 
scarcely interrupted, and with an energy that knew no fatigue. 
Although enthusiastic, he was still prudent He would per- 
suade, petition, and remonstrate, where these would accom- 
plish his object ; but when these failed, he was ready to 
resist even unto blood, and would sooner, have sacrificed his 
life than yielded with dishonour. **Had he lived in any 
country or epoch," says his biographer, '* when abuses of 
power were to be resisted, he would have been one of the re- 
formers. He would have sufifered excommunication, rather 
Aan have bowed to papal infallibility, or paid tribute to St. 
Peter ; he would have gone to the stake, rather than sub- 
mit to the prelatic ordinances of Laud ; he would have 
mounted the scaffold, sooner than pay a shilling of illegal ship- 
money ; he would have fied to a desert, rather than endure 
the profligate tyranny of a Stuart ; he was proscribed, and 
would sooner have been condemned as a traitor, than assent 
to an illegal tax, if it had been only a sixpenny stamp or an 
insignificant duty on tea ; and there appeared to be no species 
of corruption by which this inflexibility could have been des- 

In the delegation of political power, he maybe said to have 
been too cautious, since our constitutions, as he would have 
modelled them, would not have had sufiicient inherent force 
for their own preservation. One of his colleagues thus ho- 
Dourably described him : '* Samuel Adams would have the 
stete of Massachusetts govern the union ; the town of Boston 
govern Massachusetts ; and that he should govern the town 
of Boston, and then the whole would not be intentionally ill 

With some apparent austerity, there was nothing of the 
•pint of gloom or arrogance about him. In his demeanour* 

he combined mildnen with SmmeM, and dignity trilh m»' 
deaceiulon. If loiDfltliiiet an adroota for meaaorea whitdi 
might be ihenfht too ilrongi It waa, perfaapa, bacauae bit 
eomprehannon extended beyond ordinary minda, and he had 
more energy to eflbet hia purpoaea, than attachea to comnon 
nan. In addition to theae qnalitieai he manifealed an nneon^ 
Bon indifierenee to pecuniary conaiderationa ; he ma poor 
wbUe he lived, and had not tha death of an only aon m- 
liered hia latter day poreriy, Sunnel Adana, nolwltb- 
•tanding hia virtne«t hia patriotiani, hi* nnwearied leal, and hia 
acknowledged uaefulaeast while he hvedi would have had tn 
daim a bnrial at the hand of charity, or at the pnblic e: 



JoBx Adjlmb waa bom at Quiney, then pert of the ancient* 
town of BninUee, on the 19th day of October, old atylct 
1736. He waa a deacendant of the Puritana, hia ancealOT* 
having early emigrated from England* and aetlled in Maaaa- 
cfansetts. Diacovering early a strong love of reading and of 
knowledge, proper care waa taken by bis blher to provide 
for hifl edncation. His youthful studies were prosecuted in 
Ifeaintree, under Mr. Marsh, a gentleman whose fortune it 
waa to instntct several children, who in manhood were dea- 
tined to act a conspicuous part in the Bccnes of the revolution. 

He became a member of Harvard College, 1751, and was 
graduated in course hi 1756 : with what degree of reputa- 
tion he left the universi^ is not now precisely known ; we only 
know that he waa distiogutshed in a class of which th« 
Reverend Dr. Hemmenway was a member, who bora 
honourable leatiroony to the openness and deciaioB of hia 
character, and to the strength and activity of hia mind. 

Having chosra the law for hia profession, he commenced 
and prosecuted its studies under the direction of Samnel 
Pntnaas, a barrister of eminence at Worcester. By him he 
waa introduced to the celebrated Jeremy Gridley, then attor* 


nej general of the proTince of MasBachusetts Bay. At the 
fini interrieir they became friendi; Gridley at once proposed 
Hr. Adams for admisaion to the bar of Sufiblk, and took him 
into epecial favonr. Soon afler his admiasion, Hr. Qrid- 
ley led his yonng friend into a private chamber with an air 
of secrecy, and, pointing to a book case, said, " Sir, there is 
the secret of my eminence, and of which yon may avail 
yanrself as yon please." It was a pretty good collection of 
treatises of the ciril law. In this place Mr. Adams spent his 
days and nights, until he had made himself master of tha 
principles of the code. 

From early life, the bent of his mind was towards politics, a 
propensity which the state of the times, if it did not create, 
donbtless very mudi strengthened. While a resident at 
Worcester, he wrote a letter of which the following is an ex- 
tract. The letter was dated October 12th, 1755. " Soon 
^er the reformation, a few people caroe over into this new 
world for conscience sake : perhaps this apparently trivial 
incident may transfer the great seat of empire into America. 
It looks likely to me ; for, if we can remove the turbulent 
Gallicks, our people, according to the exactest computations, 
will in another century become more numerous than England 
itself. Should this be the case, since we have, I may gay, all 
the naval stores of the nation in our hands, it will be easy to 
obtain a mastery of the seas ; and the united force of all 
Europe will not be able to subdue us. The only way to keep 
vt from setting up for ourselves is to disunite us. 

"Be not surprised that I am turned politician. This whole 
town is immersed in politics. The interests of nations and 
ill Ae dira of war make the subject of every conversation. 
I sit and hear, and after having been led through a maze of 
uge observations, I sometimes retire, and lay things together, 
tsd form some reflections pleasing to myself. The produce 
of one of these reveries you have read." 

This prognostication of independence, and of so vast an 
increase of numbers, and of naval force, as might defy all 
Europe, is remarkable, especially as coming from so young a 
xmit and so early in the history of the country. It is more 

miuAable Oat iti anthor ihaiild han Ursd to ••• MOM 
to tiw ktter, irimt vouU htn Mmod u othen M As tbM^ 
bat tbs extmaghnee of joutUbl haey. Hk Mrij poBtkd 
isdingf wen thni itnmglj Ammiem, awl fima lliia iHist 
•ttacbmont to hii lutiTo uil he aenr departed. 

In t7S6 he waa admitted to the bar, and eomiiMiteed h«t> 
Ben in Brai&trea. He ia nndenlood to hare made Ua im 
eonaiderable effitrti or to hare obtuned hia moat dgaal #■•• 
oeaa, at Ptyntontb, in a jury trial, and a criimnal canee. Ik 
I76A, Mr. Adnina laid before the poblic hia ** ISmaj on Am 
Canon and Feudal Law," a work diatingniahed for ita power 
■ad eloquence. The object of thla work waa to ahow, that 
onr Nev-Gngland anceatoia, in eonaendnf to exile theof 
■elrea from their native land, were actuated mainly by Iha 
dealre of delivering, theroaelvea from Uie power of tho 
Uenrehy, and from the monarehical, ariatocntieal, aad 
political ayatem of the other- continent ; and to make tbia 
truth bear with effect on the poli^ica of the timea. Ita tone 
ia nncommonl}^ bold and animated for that period. He caBa 
on the people not only to defend, bnt to study and tmdeialand 
their righti and privilegee ; and ni^ea eameatly the neceaatty 
of diffusing general knowledge. 

In conclusion, he exclBims, " let the pulpit reaoimd with 
the doctrines and sendmenta of religious liberty. Let na 
hear the danger of thraldom to our consciences, from igno- 
tance, extreme poverty and dependence, in abort, from ciril 
and political slavery. Let us eee delineated before us, the 
true map of man — let us hear the dignity of hia nature, and 
the noble rank he holds among the worka of 6od I that con- 
senting to alaveiy is a aacrilegious breach of trust, aa offetH 
dve in the aight of God, aa it is derogatory from our own 
honour, or iutereat, or bappineaa ; and that God Almighty haa 
promulgated from heaven, liberty, peace, and good will to 

" Let the bar proclaim the laws, the righta, the generoua 
plan of power delivered down from remote antiquity ; inform 
the world of the mighty atrug^ea and numbeHeie sacrifieea 
made by our aneeatora in the defence of freedom. Let it ba 


known tlwt Britiib libeniei are not Ihe giants of princea or 
parliaments, but original rights, conditions of original con 
tncts, coequal with prerogatiTO, and coeval with govom- 
menL That many of our rights are inherent and eaeential, 
ngreed on as maxima and eatablished aa preliminaries even 
before a parliament existed. Let them search for the foun- 
dnlian of British laws and goTernment in the frame of human 
nature, in the constitution of the intellectual and moral world. 
Tbere let iu see that truth, liberty, justice, and benerolence, 
■re ils everlasting basis ; and if these could U removed, the 
•operstructuro is overthrown of course. 

"Let the coliegea join their harmony in Ihe same delight- 
fbl concerL Let every declamation turn upon the beauty of 
liberty and virtue, and the deformity, turpitude, and malignity 
of slavery and vice. Let the public disputations become re- 
Morehes into the grounds, nature, and ends of government, 
nod the means of preserving the good and demolishing the 
eviL Let the dialogues and all the exercises become the in- 
straments of impressing on the tender mind, and of spreading 
and distributing far and wide the ideas of right, and the sen- 
aationa of freedom." 

In 1780, Mr. Adams removed his residence to Boston, still 
eontiiioing his attendance on the neighbouring circuits, and 
not nnfreqnently called to remote parts of the province. 

In 1770 occurred, as has already been noticed, the " Boston 
■staaacre." Hr. Adams was solicited by the British officers 
and aoldien to undertake their defence, on the indictment 
foond against them, for iheir share in that tragical scene. 
^tia was a severe test of his professional firmness. He was 
well aware of the popular indignation against these priso- 
nei*. and he was at that time a representative of Boston in 
die general courts an office which depended entirely upon 
popular fitvonr. But he knew that it was due to his profes- 
non, and to himself, to undertake their defence, and to hazard 
Ihe consequences. " The trial was well managed. The cap- 
(aia was severed in his trial from the soldiers, who were tried 
hat, and thmr defence rested in part upon the orders, real or 
Wppeeed, given by the officer to bis men to fire. This wae 

In ft good iBMaaia tuccewfuL On llie UUl of C^it I 
to ineh order to fin conld be proved. The reult wut mH 
I aboold h>Te been, an acquittnL It wai a ^oriona ibinf tkal 
tbe counsel and jnry had nerre anScLent to bMMt lite Vatnmt- 
of public feeling. It showed Britain that abs bad not a nwr* 
mob to deal with, but reaolute end determined men, who eo«U 
,nalrai& IhemseWea. iStidl mat an iangtrota to arbitrary 
fover.*' ... 

TliB event prored, that aa he judged well for hia own t»> 
patation, ao he judged well for the intereat and penaanaBt 
frme of his country. The aame year he waa elected one of 
the repreaeatatiTei in the general aaaembly, an hononr to 
wbieh the people would not hare called him. had ha kwt ihA 
flimfidenee and affection. 

In the year 1773, and 1774, he waa chopena comiaellovbj 
(he members of the general court i but waa rcjeeled by Oo> 
Temor Hutchiaflon, in the former of theae years, and by G<^ 
vernor Gage, in the latter. 

In this latter year, he was appointed a member of the con* 
tinenlal congress, from Hauachuietts. " 71>i> appoinUMiit 
waa made at Salem, where the general court had been god- 
rened by Governor Gage, in tbe last hour of the existeooe of 
a house of representatives, under the provincial charter 
While engaged in this important businesB, the governor 
having been informed of what was passing, sent his secretary 
with a message, dissolTing the general court. The secretary 
finding the door Icked, directed the messenger to go in, and 
inform the speaker that the secretary was at the door, with a 
message from the governor. The messenger returned, and 
informed the secretary that the orders of the house were, that 
the doors should be kept fast ; whereupon the aecralary 
aoon after read a proclamaUon, dissolving the general court) 
upon the stairs. Thus terminated, forever, the actual exer 
dse of the political power of England in or over Msaaa 

On the meeting of congress in Philadelphia, 1774, Mb 
Adams appeared and took his scat. To talents of the highest 
order, and the most commanding eloquence, he added mi 

■AMBSvi'i II I Jill, o^n 



konest derotion to the cause of his conntiy, and a firmness 
of character, for which he was distinguished through life* 
Prior to that period he had, upon all occasions, stood forth 
openly in defence of the rights of his country, and in opposi- 
tion to the injustice and encroachments of Great Britain. He 
boldly opposed them by his advice, his actions, and his elo« 
qnence ; and, with other worthies, succeeded in spreading 
among the people a proper alarm for their liberties. Mr. 
Adams was placed upon the first and most important com- 
mittees. During the first year, addresses were prepared to 
tlie king, to the people of England, of Ireland, Canada, and 
Jamaica. The name of Mr. Adams is found upon almost all 
those important committees. His firmness and eloquence in 
debate, soon gave him a standing among the highest in that 
august body. 

The proceedings of this congress hare already passed in 
reriew. Among the members, a variety of opinions seem to 
have prevailed, as to the probable issue of the contest, in 
which the country was engaged. On this subject, Mr. 
Adams, a few years before his death, expressed himself, in 
a letter to a friend, as follows : ** When congress had finished 
their business, as they thought, in the autumn of 1774, 1 had 
with Mr. Henry, before we took leave of each other, some 
familiar conversation, in which I expressed a full conviction 
tliat our resolves, declaration of rights, enumeration of 
wrongs, petitions, remonstrances, and addresses, associa- 
tions, and non-importation agreements, however they might 
be viewed in America, and however necessary to cement the 
miion of the colonies, would be but waste water in England. 
Mr. Henry said, they might make some impression among 
the people of England, but agreed with me, that they would 
be totally lost upon the government I had but just received 
i short and hasty letter, written to me by Major Joseph 
Hawley, of Northampton, containing a few broken hints, as 
lie called them, of what he thought was proper to be done, 
ind concluding with these words, * after aU, we must fight.* 
TUa letter I read to Mr. Henry, who listened with great at- 
IflBtkm, and as soon as I had pronounced the words, ' after 

a^ VB oratt fl^it,* ha niied his hmi, moH, wldi m tmmgf 
•ad Tehenmce that I ean mmr tdtffit, broka oat with, * 1 
MB of that mait'i miiid;' I pnt Om lettsr into Ui hand, and 
when he had read It he ntnrned It to ne, with an eqMHjr 
Miemn aaaOT c ratlon, that he agreed entiielj In opinion wMi 
Ae writer. 

' ** The other delegates from Tirginia returned to th^ state 
in fldl confidence that all dot grienneee would be redreeaed. 
Hie loit wordfl that Mr. Richard Hemy Liee said to mei when 
we parted, were, * w« shall iniatliblf cany all our points. 
Ton will be completely relierad ; all the oSenalTe acta will 
he repealed ; the army and fleet will be recalled, and Britain 
viU glre np her fooliidt project.' 

•• Washington only was in donbt H« never spoke in pnb- 
He. In priTBle, be joined with those who advocated m non- 
exportation, as well as a non-importation agreement. Wth 
both, be thought we should prevail; without either, be 
diought It doubtful. Henry was clear in one opinion, 
lUchard Henry Lee in an opporite opinion, and Washington 
doubted between the two." 

On the 15th day of June, the continental congress appointed 
General Wsshington commander in chief of- the American 
armies. To Mr. Adams is ascribed the honour of baring 
suggested and advocated the choice of this illustrious man. 
When first suggested by Mr. Adams, to a few of his confi- 
dentiBl friends in Congress, the proposition wts received 
with a marked disapprobalion. Washington, at this time, 
was ntmost a stranger to thnm ; and, besides, to elevate a 
man who bsd never held a higher military rank than that M 
colonel, over ofiScers of the highest grade in (he militia, and 
those, too, already in tfae field, appeared not only irregular, 
but likely to produce much dissatisfaction among them, and 
the people at large. To Mr. Adams, however, the greelesl 
advantage appeared likely to result from the choice of Wash- 
ington, whose character and peculiar fitness for the station he 
well understood. Samuel Adams, his distinguished colleagne. 
coincided with him in these views, and through their instm* 
westality this felidtons choice was effected. When a ma- 

Jorlty in con^reu had been Mcaied, Mr. Adams introdnced 
ibe mbjeet of appointing a Mnunaoder in chief of the armies, 
and having sketched the qnalifications which should be fonad 
in the man to be elerated to so responsible a station, he cob- 
elnded by nominating George Washington, of Virginia, to the 

To Washington, himself, nothing could have been more un- 
expected. Until that moment he was i^orsnt of the intended 
nomination. The proposal was seconded by Samuel Adams, 
•nd the following day it received the unanimous approbation 
of congress. 

When Mr. Adams was first made a member of the conti- 
nental congress, it was hinted that he, at that tt'tn^, inclined to 
a sepaiation of the eolonies from England, and the establish- 
ment of an independent goTemment. On his way to Phila- 
delphia, he was warned, by several advisers, not to introduce 
n subject of so delicate a character, until the afiairs of the 
country sliould wear a different aspect Whether Mr. 
Adonu needed this admonition or not, will not, in this place, 
be determined. But in 1776, the a&irs of the colonies. It 
could no longer be questioned, demanded at least the candid 
discussion of the subject. On the 0th of May, of that year, 
Mr. Adams ofiered, in committee of the whole, a resolution 
that the colonies should form governments independent of 
the crow n. On the ] Olh of May, this resolution was adopted, 
in the following shape : " That it be recommended to all the 
colonies, which had not already established governments 
suited to the exigencies of their case, to adopt such govern- 
ments as would, in the opinion of the representatives of the 
people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their con- 
stituents in particular, and Americans in general." 

" This significant vote was soon fallowed by the direct 
proposition, which Riohakd Hehbt Lbe bed the honour tn 
submit to congress, by resolution, on the 7th day of June. 
The published journal does not expressly state it, but there is 
no doubt that this resolution was in the same words, when 
originally submitted by Mr. Lee, as when finally passed. 
Having been discussed on Saturday the 8lh, and Monday the 


lOth of Jane, thii resolution irat, on the last BrattoMd.dtf. 
poitponed for liirther conrideration to Ibe first Amj at July * 
ud at the >une time i t \ru votod, that K eomnitteo bs ippoiBl> 
ad to prepare a j>vila*a.tiok, to the efieet of the roaolntioa. 
Tliii eominittee was elected by ballot on Ae folloving dajr, 
and connated of Thomab JifrEKaoM, Josir Abams, BsNrAMUt 
FaANXLiir, RooxK Sbbrkan, and Robekt R. LinvoiToa.** 

It ifl uanal when commitleea are elected by balloti that ibeir 
nembera are arranged in order, aecording to the naaaber of 
Totea which each hsa receired. Mr. Jeffersoiia iberefora^ 
probably receired the highest, and TAi. Adsins tho next 
Ugbeat number of votea. The difierenca b swd to bars 
been but a single rota. 

Mr. Jefiertoo and Mr. Adama, standing thns at the head of 
Ae eommlltee, were requested by the other membersi to act 
u a sub-conunittee to prepare the draft ; and Mr. Jefferson 
drev up the paper. The original draft, aa brought by him 
from hifl study, and submitted to the other members of Iha 
committee, with interlineaiiona in the hand writing of Dr. 
Franklin, and others in that of Mr. Adams, was in Kb. JeffiBr> 
son's poBBeaaion at the time of his death. The merit of this 
paper ia Mr. Jefferson's. Some changes were made in it, on 
the auggeation of other members of the committee, and others 
by Congreas, while it waa under discuasioa. But none irf 
them altered the tone, the frame, the arrangement, or the ge- 
neral character of the inatrument. Aa a compoailion, the 
declaration is Mr. Jefferson's. It is the production of his 
mind, and the high honour of it belongs to him clearly and 

" While Mr. Jefferson was the author of the declaration 
itself^ Mr. Adams was its great supporter on the floor of Con- 
gress. This was the unequivocal testimony of Mr. Jeffiarson. 
'John Adams,' said he, on one occasion, 'was our Coloaava 
on the floor ; not graceful, not elegant, not always fluent in 
hia public addressea, he yet came out with a power, both of 
thought and of expression, that moved ub from our aeata ;** 
and at another time, he said, ■ John Adams was the pillar of 
its support on the floor of Congress ; its ablest advocate andi 


drieDder sgaiiut the multUkrioua ssuultSi which were nude 
tgaioat it.*" 

Oa the second day of July, the reaolution of independenee 
vu adopted, and on the fourth, the declftiation itself vna 
nnaniiiiatuly agreed to. Language can scarcely deacribe the 
iranaport of Mr. Adama at this time. He has best described 
Ihcm himself; in a letter written the day following, to bis wife. 
"Yesterday," says he, "the greatest question was decided 
that was erer debated in America ; and greater, perhapS) 
never was or will he decided among men. A resolution was 
passed, without one dissenting colony, ' That these United 
States are, and of right ought to be, free and independent 
■tales.' The day is passed. The 4th of July, 1776, will be a 
mnnoi^le epoch in tbe history of America. I am apt to 
beliere it will he celebrated by succeeding generations as the 
great annirersary festiral. It ought to be commemorated as 
the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty 
God. It ought to be solemnized with pomp, shows, games, 
sports, guns, bells, bonlirea, and illuminations, from one end 
ef the continent to the other, from this lime forward, forever. 
You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. 
I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it 
will cost to maintain this declamlioa, and support and defend 
these states ; yet through all the gloom, I can see the rays of 
light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more tboQ 
all the means ; and that posterity will triumph, although yon 
and I may rue, which I hope we shall not" 

About (he time of the declaration of independence, occurred 
the disastrous battle of Flatbush on Long Island. The 
(ictory thus gained by the British, was considered by Lord 
Howe as a favourable moment for proposing to congress an 
accommodation ; and for this purpose, he requested an inter- 
view with someof thememberi. In tbe deliberations of con- 
[resB, Mr. Adams opposed this proposal, on the ground that 
no accommodation could thus be effected. 

A committee, however, was appointed to wait on Lord 
Howe, consisting of himself^ Dr. Franklin, and Mr. Rutledge, 
On beiBi; •ppriwd <tf their intended ioterriew, Lord Howe 

•ant oiw of hia prindpal offiena tm a hoatigBi bat Uw bom 
mlnionen taking him with them, furleMly npaind to th* 
Britiah cunp. Oa their arriTal, ths^ wvn eondvetfid Arougfa 
aa may of tmaty Ihonsand raeiii dnwn up for dw parpoM 
of shotr and impnuion. But ths diaplay wm loit on tiM 
eommiHioBers, who stodionaly aroided all stgna of wonder or 
■nziety- Aa had been predicted by Mr. Adama, the intarrlew 
terminated without any beneficial reanlt On being introdv- 
eed. Lord Howe informed Uiem thai he could not treat with 
Aam as a committee of congreaa, bnt only aa prirate gentle- 
men of Influence in the colonies ; to which Hr. Adams repli- 
ed, " You may riew me in any light you please, air, except 
that of a Britiah aubjecL" 

During the remainder of the year I77S, and alt 1777, Mr. 
Adams waa deeply engaged in the afiain of congresi. He 
aerved as a member of ninety different eoromitteesi and waa 
diairman of twenty-fire committees. From his multifonii 
and aerere labours he waa relieved in December of the latter 
year, by the appointment of commiaaioner to France, in the 
place of Silas Deane. 

In February, ITl^ he embarked for that country oa board 
of the frigate Boston. On his arrival in France, he fonnd that 
Dr. Franklin, and Arthur Lee, who had been appointed com- 
nissioners the preceding year, and were then in France, had 
already concluded a treaty with the French government, 
little basinesB, therefore, of a public nature was left him to 
do. In the summer of 1779, he returned to America. 

About the time of hia arrival, the people of Massachnaetts 
were adopting meaaures for calling a convention to form a 
new atate constitution. Of this convention he waa elected a 
member, and was also a member of the committee appointed 
by the convention to report a plan for their consideration. A 
plan which he drew up waa accepted, and was made the bast* 
of the constitution of that state. 

In the August following, in consequence of an informal 
anggeation from the court of St. James, he received the ap- 
pointment of miniater plenipotentiary for negotiating a trea^ 
of pfltovi and a trea^ of eomraeree, with Oreat Brituu. A 


■alary of twentjr-fire hnndred poundB ■terlin^ wu roted bim. 
In (he month of October, he embarked on board the French 
■hip La Senrible, and after a tediona royage was landed M 
Ferrol, in Sp&in, whence he proceeded to Paris, where he 
»ni*ed in (he month of February. He there eomrauDicated 
with Dr. Franklin, who was at that time envoy of the United 
Slatea at the court of France, and with the Connt de Ver- 
gennea, the French prime miniRter. But the British govern- 
ment, it was found, were not dtapoicd to peace, and the day 
seemed far distant when any negotiation could be opened 
with a hope of euccess. Mr. Adams, however, was so use- 
ful in various ways, that towards the close of the year, con- 
press honoured him by a vote of thanks, " for hia industrious 
attention to the intereal and honour of these United States 
■broad ." 

In June, 1780, congress being informed that Mr. Lanrens, 
who had been appointed to negotiate a loan in Holland for 
the United States, had been taken prisoner by the English, 
forwarded a commisaion to Mr. Adams to proceed to Hol- 
land, for the above purpose. To this, soon after, was added 
Ae new appointment of commissioner to conclude a treaty 
of amity and commerce with the States General of Holland; 
•nd, at the some time, authority was given him to pledge 
Afl faith of the United States to the " armed neutrality" 
proposed by the RuBsian government. 

Mr. Adams repaired with promptitude to Holland, and 
engaged with great zeal in the business of his commission. 
From this station he was suddenly summoned by the Count 
de Vergennes, to consult, at Paris, with regard to a project 
6k a general peace, suggested by the courts of Vienna and 
8l Petersbnrgh. 

This was one of the most anxious periods in the eventful 
life of Mr. Adams. France was, indeed, ready to fulfil her 
goaranty of independence to the United Stales ; but it was 
^ politic aim of the Count de Vergennes, to secure impor- 
tant advantages for his own country, in the settlement of 
American difficulties. Hence, no effort was spared to make 
Mi. Adams, in (his important matter, Ifae sabnrdinate agent 


of the French cabinet. He, on the other htai, ngardod 
■olely the intereats of the United States, uid the instnictioiu 
of congreaa ; and bis obsUtule independence, unflhakcn hy 
the kltemate threats and blandishments of the court of Ver- 
sailles, occasioned an eflbrt b^ the Count de Vergennei to 
obtain, through the French minister ia Philadelphia, such a 
modificatioD of the inBtruclionfl to Mr. Adams, as should 
subject him to the direction of the French cabineL 

The effect of this artful and strenuous measure was, a do* 
termination on the part of congress, that Mr. Adams should 
bold the most confidential intercourse with the French minis- 
ters ; and should " undertake nothing in the negotiation of 
• peace, or truce, without their knowledge and concurrence." 

Under these humiliating restriclions, the independent and 
decisive spirit of Mr. Adams was severely tried. The impe- 
rial mediators proposed an armistice, but without any with* 
drawal of troops &om America. Mr. Adams firmly opposed 
this stipulation ; and (he negotiation proceeded no farther at 
that time. 

It was, obriously, the policy of the French minister, not 
to facilitate the peace between Great Britain and the United 
States, without previously securing to France a large share in 
tlic fisheries ; and at the same time so eslablishing the wes- 
tern boundary, as to sacrilice the interests of the United 
States to (hose of Spain. 

Finding all attempts at negotiation unavailing, Mr. Adams 
returned to Holland. 

Meantime, (he apprehensions of congress being much 
excited by (he insinuations of the French minister in Phila- 
delphia, they added to the commission for forming a treaty 
with Great Britain, Dr. Franklin, then plenipotentiary at 
Paris ; Mr. Joy, the miaiater at Madrid ; Mr. Henry Laurens, 
who had recently been appointed special minister to France ; 
and Mr. Jefferson. The whole were instructed to govern 
themselves by (he advice and opinion of the ministers of (lie 
king of France. This unaccountable and dishonourable 
concession, in effect, made (he Goun( dc Vergennes niinis(er 
plenipotentiary for the United Slates. 

lOHN iJ>A]f8. 105 

But the indefatigable exertions of Mr. Adams in Holland, 
had a most important bearing upon the proposed negotiations. 
By a laborious and striking exhibition of the situation and 
resources of the United States, he succeeded in so far in- 
fluencing public opinion, as to obtain a loan of eight millions 
of guilders, on reasonable terms. This loan, effected in the 
autumn of 1782, was soon followed by a treaty of amity and 
commerce with Holland, recognizing the United States as 
independent and sovereign states. 

The disposition towards peace, on the part of the English 
ministry, was wonderfully quickened by the favourable ne- 
gotiation of this loan. During Lord Shelbume's administra- 
tion, the independence of the states was unconditionally ac- 
knowledged, and the first effectual steps were taken to put 
ao end to the war. 

During the negotiations that followed, the disposition of 
France again evinced itself, to cut off the United States from 
a share of the fisheries, and to transfer a portion of the 
American territory to Spain. The American commissioners, 
therefore, were not a littie embarrassed by their instructions 
from congress, to govern themselves by the opinion and 
advice of the French minister. But, as Mr. Adams had, on a 
former occasion, found it necessary to depart from instruc- 
tions of a similar import ; the other commissioners now 
joined with him, in the determination to secure the best 
interests of their country, regardless of the interference of 
the French minister, and of the inconsiderate restrictions im- 
posed on them by congress. 

Accordingly, provisional articles were signed by them, on 
the 30th of November, 1782 ; and this measure was follow- 
ed by an advantageous definitive treaty in September, 1783. 

Mr. Adams spent a part of the year 1784 in Holland, but 
returned eventually to Paris, on being placed at the head of 
acommbsion, with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Jefferson as coad- 
jutors, to negotiate several commercial treaties with different 
foreign nations. 

Near the commencement of the year 1786, congress re- 
lolved to send a minister plenipotentiary to represent the 


Uoited States at the court of St Jamta. To this rupouibl* 
itation, rendered peculiarly delicste by th« fkct that the 
United States had so recently and reluctantly been acknow- 
ledged as an independent nation, Mr. Aduns was appointed. 
It was doubtful in what manner and with what spirit an 
American minister would be received by the British goTUn- 
ment. On leaving America, Mr. Jay, the then secretary of 
State, among other instructions, used the following langoage 
** The manner of your reception at that court, and its temper, 
Tiews, and dispositions respecting American objects, are mat- 
ters concerning which particular information might be no 
leas uaefiil than interesting. Your letters will, I am persuaded. 
temoTe all suspense on those points." 

In accordance with this direction, Mr. Adorns subsequently 
foricarded to Mr. Jay ^e following interesting account of h^ 
presentation to the king. 

" During my interview with the marquis of Carmarthen, 
he told nie it was customary for every foreign minister, at 
his first presentation to the king, to mske bia majesty some 
compliments conformable to the spirit of his credentials ; and 
when Sir Clement Cotlrel Dormer, the master of ceremonies, 
came to inform me that he should accompany me to the secre- 
tary of state, and to court, he said, that every foreign minister . 
whom he had attended to the queen, hod always made an 
harangue to her majesty, and he understood, though he had not 
been present, that they always harangued the king. On Tues- 
day evening, the Baron dc Lynden (Dutch ambassador) called 
upon me, and said he came from the Baron de Nolkin, (Swedish 
envoy,) and had been conversing upon the singular situation 
I was in, and they agreed in opinion that it was indispensable 
that I should make a speech, and that it should be as com- 
plimentary as p<i8sible. All this was parallel to the advice 
lately given by the Count dc Vergennes to Mr. JefTerson. So 
that finding it was a custom established at both these great 
courts, that this court and the foreign ministers expected it, 
I thought I could not avoid it, although my first thought and 
inclination had been to deliver my credentials silendy and 
retire. At one, on Wednesday the first of June, the master 



«f eeremonies ^ed at my house, and went with me to the 
secretary of state's office, in Cleveland Row, where the mar* 
qois of Carmarthen received me, and introduced me to Mr* 
Fraaer, his under secretary, who had heen, as his lordship 
said, uninterruptedly in that office tlirough all the changes in 
administration for thirty years, having first been appointed 
by the earl of Holdemess. After a short conversation upon 
the subject of importing my effiBCts from Holland and France, 
free of duty, which Mr. Frazier himself introduced, Lord 
Carmarthen invited me to go with him in his coach to court. 
When we arrived in the antichamber, the asil-de-bceuf of 
St James's, the master of the ceremonies met me, and at- 
tended me, while the secretary of state went to take the 
commands of the king. While I stood in this place, where 
it seems all ministers stand on such occasions, always at- 
tended by the master of ceremonies, the room very full of 
eourtiers, as well as the next room, which is the king's bed 
diamber, you may well suppose, that I was the focus of all 

** I was relieved, however, from the embarrassment of it by 
the Swedish and Dutch ministers, who came to me and enter- 
tained me in a very agreeable conversation during the whole 
time. Some other gentlemen whom I had seen before came 
to make their compliments too, until the marquis of Carmar- 
then returned, and desired me to go with him to his majesty : 
I went with his lordship through tlie levee room into the 
king's closet; the door was shut, and I was left with his 
majesty and the secretary of state alone. I made the three 
reverences, one at the door, another about half way, and the 
third before the presence, according to the usage established 
at this and all the northern courts of Europe, and then ad- 
dressed myself to his majesty in the following words: 

** * Sir, the United States have appointed me their minister 
^nipotentiary to your majesty, and have directed me to de- 
fiver to your majesty this letter, which contains the evidence 
of iu It is in obedience to their express commands, that 1 have 
iSke honour to assure your majesty of their unanimous disposi- 
tbn tad desire to cultivate the most friendly and liberal in* 

108 MAHACHUnm tnUfll.TI«ll. 

terconrae between your majei^'a subjecU and th^ eituaiUi 
and of their beat wiahea for your msjesty'i health and happi- 
iieae, and for that of your royal family. 

" The appointment of a minister from the United Statei 
to jraur majesty's court, will form an epoch in the history of 
England and America. I think myself more fortunate than all 
my fellow citizens, in baring the distingnished faononr to be 
the first to stand in your majesty's royal presence in a diplo- 
matic character ; and I shall esteem myself the happiest of 
men, if I can be instrumental in recommending my country 
more and mure to your majesty's royal beneTolencc, and of 
restoring an entire esteem, confidence, and affection, or in 
better vrords, 'the old good nature, and the old good hamour,' 
between people who, though separated by an ocean, and un- 
der ditferent governments, have the same language, a similai 
religion, and kindred blood. I beg your majesty's permission 
to add, that although I have sometimes before been entrusted 
by my country, it was never, in my whole life, in a manner so 
agreeable to myself.' 

" The king listened to every word I said, with dignity, it 
is true, but with an apparent emotion. AYhether it was the 
nature of the interview, or whether it was my visible agita- 
tion, for I felt more than I did or could express, that touched 
him, I cannot say, but he was much aifeclcd, and answered me 
with more tremor than I had spoken with, and said : 

" ' Sir, the circumstances of this audipnce are so extraor- 
dinary, the language you have now held ia so extremely pro- 
per, and the feelings you have discovered so justly adapted 
lo the occasion, that I must say, that I not only receive with 
pleasure the assurances of the friendly disposition of the peo- 
ple of the United States, but that I am very glad the choice 
has fallen upon you to be their minister. I wish you, air, la 
believe, and that it maybe understood in America, that I 
have done nothing in the late contest but what I thought my- 
self indispensably bound to do, by the duty which I owed to 
my people. I will be very frank with you. I was the last 
to conform to the separation ; but the separation having been 
made, and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I 

wBf BOW, that I mnild be the fint to meet the Mendship of 
the Uniteil State*, as an independent power. The momenl 
] tee such aentimenta and language aa yaan prevail, and a 
diipoution to give thla coontiy the preference, that moment 
I ahall sa^, let the circumstanceB of Isngoage, religion, and 
blood, hare their natural and fiill eflect.' 

" I dare not say that these were the kiag'a precise worda, 
and it ia eren possible that I may have, iu some particulaTt 
labtaken his meaning ; for although his pronunciatioD is aa 
dislinet as t ever heard, he hesitated sometimes between bia 
periods, and between the members of the same period. He 
«M| indeed, much efiected, and I was not less so ; and, there- 
ferc. 1 cannot be certain that I was so attentive, heard so 
elearly, and underatood so perfectly, as to be confident of all 
Us words or senae ; this I do say, that the foregoing is his 
najea^'s meaning, as I then understood it, and his own 
words, as nearly aa I can recollect" 

He year following, IT681 Mr. Adams requested permis- 
•don to resign his office, which, being granted, after an ab- 
aanee of between eight and nine years, he returned to his 
BBlire country. The new goTemment was, at that time, abont 
gtdng into operation. In the autumn of 1788, ho was elected 
rice preaident of the United Slates, a situation which he filled, 
with reputation for eight years. 

On the retirement of General Washington from the presi- 
dcDcy, in 1796, Mr. Adams was a candidate for that elevated 
station. At this time, two parties had been fonned in the 
Dniled States. At the head of one stood Mr. Hamilton and 
lb. Adams, and at the head of the other stood Mr. Jefieraon. 
After a close contest between these two parties, Mr. Adama 
waa elected president, having received serenty^one of the 
dectoral votes, and Mr. Jefferson aixty>eight In March, 
17S7> these gentlemen entered upon (heir respective offices 
of preaident and rice president of the United States. 

Of the administration of Mr. Adams we shall not, in thb 
^aee, give a detuled account. Many circumstances con- 
spired to reader it unpopular. An unhappy dispute with 
Tnaca had ariaea a little prerioosfy to his inauguration. In 


the managcmenl of ihis dispute, vhich had reference to ag* 
grcssions by France upon American rights and commerce: 
the popularity of Mr. Adams was in no small degree affected, 
altfiough the measures which he recommended for upholding 
the national characlcr, were more moderate than congress, 
and a respectable portion of the people, thought the exigen- 
cies of the case required. Other circumstances, alsoi con- 
spired to diminish his popularity. Restraints were imposed 
upon the press, and authority vestod in the president to or- 
der ahens [o depart out of the United States, when he should 
judge the peace and safely of the country required. To these 
measures, acta were added for raising a standing army, and 
imposing o direct tax and internal duties. These, and other 
causes, combined to weaken the strength of the parly to 
whom he owed bis elevation, and to prevent his re-election. 
He was succeeded by Mr. Jefferson, in 1801, 

On retiring from the presidency he removed to his former 
residence at Quincy, where, in quiet, he spent the remainder 
of his days. In 1830, he voted as elector of president and 
vice president ; and, in the same year, at the advanced sge 
of 85, be was a member of the convention of Massachusetts, 
•nembled to revise the conalitution of thai commonwedth. 

Mr. Adams retained the faculties of his mind, in remarka- 
ble perfection, to the end of hia long life. His nnabated lovfl 
of reading and contemplation, added to an interesting circle 
of friendship and affection, were sources of felicity in dS' 
dining yean, which seldom fall to the lot of any one. 

" But," to use the langaage of a distinguished enlagigt,* 
** he had otiier enjoyments. He saw around him that pros- 
perity and general happiness, which had been the object of 
hia public cares and labonrs. No man ever beheld mors 
clearly, and for a longer time, the great snd beneficial effect! 
of the services rendered by himself to hia country.- That 
liberty, which he so early defended, that independence, of 
which he was so able an advocate and supporter, he saw, we 
tran, finnlj and aecorely established. The populstion of 


Ibe coontiy thickened wound him futer, and extended wider, 
thui his own ■BRgotne predictioni had anticipated ; end the 
, msltht reBpectability, and power of the oation, sprang up to 
a magnitude, which it is quite impossible he could haTo'ez- 
peeled to witness, in lua day. He lived, also, to behold those 
principles of cItII freedom, which had been developed, es- 
tablished, and practically applied in America, attract atten- 
lion, command respect, and awaken imitation, in other re- 
pons of the globe ; and well might, and well did he ex- 
clsim, ' Where will the consequences of the American rero- 
Intion end !' 

" If any diing yet remains to fiU this cup of happiness, let 
it be added, that he lived to see a great and intelligent people 
bestow the highest honour in their gift, where be had be- 
Kowed his own kindest parental afiections, and lodged his 
fondest hopes. 

" At length the day approached when this eminent patriot 
Tsa to be summoned to another world ; and, as if to render 
ihat day forever memorable in the annals of American histo- 
ry, it was the day on which the illustrious Jefieraon was 
himself, also, to terminate his distinguished earthly career. 
That day was the fiftieth anniversary of the declaration of 

" Until within a few days previous, Mr. Adams had ex- 
hibited no indications of a rapid decline. The morning of the 
Tourth of July, 1826, he was unable to rise from his bed. 
Neither to himself, or his friends, however, was his dissolution 
(Opposed to be so near. He was asked to suggest a toast, 
^propriate to the celebration of the day. His mind seemed 
lo glance back to the hour in which, tiAy years before, he had 
Toted for the declaration of independence, and with the 
■pint with which he then raised his hand, he now exclaimed, 
'Independence forever.' At four o'clock in the afternoon 
he expired. Mr. Jefferson had departed a few hours before 

Weclosethisimperfectsketchofthe life of this distiagtdilf^^d 
mu in the language of one* who, from the reUHoBl&a" 


be atood to the subject of ifaia mtanoir, mtut hBve felt, mora 
dun any otber individiuil, ibe impresaiveneu of the erenb 
" Theft (Hr. Adsnu and Hr. Jeffenon,) departed cheered 
hy the benediction of their country, to whom they left tha 
inheritance of their fame, and the memory of their bright 
example. If we turn our thoughta to the condition of thar 
country, in the contrast of the firvt and last day of that half 
century, how rcBplendent and sublime is the transition from 
gloom to glory] Then, glancing through (he same lapse of 
time, in the condition of the individuals, we see the firft day 
marked with the fulness and Tigonr of youth, in the pledge 
of their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honour, to the 
caose of freedom and of mankind. And on die last, extended 
on the bed of death, with but sense and sensibility left ta 
breathe a last aspiration to hearen of blessing npoo their 
country ; may we not humbly hope, that to them, too, it was 
a pledge of transition from gloom to glory ; and that while 
Aeir morlal Testments were sinking into the clod of the val- 
ley, their emancipated spirits were ascending to the bosom of 
their God !" 


Robert Trkat Pains was a native of Boston, where he 
was born, in the year 1731. His parents were pious and 
respectable. His father was for some years the settled pas- 
tor of a church in Weymouth, in the vicinity of Boston. His 
health failing him, however, he removed with his family to 
the latter place ; where he entered into mercantile pursuits. 
His mother was the grand-daughter of Governor Treat of 

At the early age of fourteen, he became a member of Har- 
vard College; but of his collegiate course, little has been n- 
Gorded. On leaving the university, he was engaged for soma 

' SOBimT'TBBAT fAIMK. 113 

dme in i public school. Ah tlie fortune of his father had, 
from FarioQs circumstances, become much reduced, the snp- 
port of his parents, vith some other relations, seemed to de* 
Tolre upon himself. In Ihe acquisition of more ample means 
for their maintenance, he made a voyage to Europe. It 
was an honourable trait in his character, thus in the morn- 
ing of life to exhibit sach filial affection ; a kindness of 
fopoaition, which be continued to manifest during his father's 

Previously to his commencing the study of Isw, he devoted 
some time to the subject of theology, which tended to en- 
large his viewa of Christianity, and to confinn his belief of it> 
truth. In 175S, be served as chaplain to the troops of the 
province at the northward, and afterwards preached a few 
times in other places. 

At length he directed his attention to the study of law, du- 
ring which period, having no pecuniary assistance, he was 
obliged to resort again to the keeping of a school for his sup- 
port. By most persons such a course would be deemed s 
serious evil ; but experience has shown, that those who are 
obliged to depend upon their own energies for the means ot 
education, generally enter upon their profession, if not with 
higher attainments, with more courage to'encounter the diffi- 
culties with which almost every one meets, and they are 
more likely to attain to a high elevation, than those whose re- 
sources are abundant. 

On being (jualified for the practice of law, Mr. Fsine esta- 
blished himself at Taunton, in the county of Bristol, where 
be resided for many years. We necessarily pass over seve- 
nl years of his life, during which we meet no occurrences ot 
■nfficient importance to merit a notice in these pages. It may 
be remarked, however, that at an early period, he took a 
deep interest in the various disputes which arose between the 
colonies and the British government. He was a delegate from 
Taunton, to a convention called by leading men of Boston, 
in 1768, in consequence of the abrupt dissolution of the gen^ 
n) court by Governor Bernard. This conrenlion the go- 
noMr attempted to broak op, but it coBtiiiiied in sesaion several 
P 10» 


dajrg, and ailopletl many spirited resolutions, defllgv „ to 
ftw&ken in the people a greaitr alleniion to their riglita, and 
to show to the ministry of England, that if those rights nreie 
violated, the provincial assembly would act independently of 
(he governor. 

Mr. Faiiie was engaged in the celebrated trial of Captain 
Prcslon, and his men, for the part they acted in the well 
known " Boston massacre" of 1770. On this occaaioD, in the 
absence of the attorney general, he conducted the prosecution 
on the part of the crown. Although only a fragment of hia 
address to the jury, at this time, has been preserved, it ap* 
pearii that be managed the cause with t)ie highest reputation 
to himself, both in regard to his honour as a faithful advo- 
cate, and Hi the same time us a friend to the just rights ol 
those against whom he acted as council. 

From this time, Mr. Paine appeared still more conspicuous- 
ly as the friend of liberty, in opposition lo ihe tyrannical and 
oppressive measures of the British administration. In 1773, 
he was elected a representative to the general assembly, from 
the town of Taunton. It was now becoming a period of 
frost alarm in the colonies. Hen of principle and talmt 
vere selected to guard the ancient rights of the colonies, and 
to pobt to those measures which, in the approaching crisisi 
U was proper to pursue. It was a high honour, therefore, for 
may one lo be elected a representative of the people. Th* 
rights, the liberties, znd even the lives of their constitu- 
ents were placed in their bands ; it was of the utmost im- 
portance that they should be men of sagacity, patriotism, and 
principle. Such, fortunately for the colonies, vxre the mm 
who represented them in their provincial assemblies, and in 
the eontinental congress. 

Of this latter body, Mr. Paine was elected a member in 
1774. A. general account of the proceedings of this as- 
Minbly has already been given. At that time a separation 
from the parent country was not generally contemplated, 
sUbough to more discerning minds, such an event appear- 
«d not improbable, and that at no distant day. The coA- 
fiew of 1774. were appointed staioly to delibwftte end d*> 


iMmiiM npon di« mewnres proper to be ponned, to Mcure 
the enjoyment end exercise of riglits guaranteed to the colo- 
niea by their charters, and for the reatitutioii of union and' 
hannony between the two countries, which was still desired 
by all. Accordingly they proceeded no farther at that time, 
Aan to address the people of America, petition the king, 
state their grieTances. assert their rights, and recommend the 
suspension of importations from Great Britain into the co- 

The assembling of such a body, and for objects of so qnes. 
lionable a character, was a bold step ; and bold mast hare 
been the men, who could thui openly appear on the aide of the 
colonies, in opposition to the British ministry, and the royal 
power. In concluding their session, in October of the sams 
fear, they presented a solemn appeal lo the world, stating 
that innovation was not their object, but only the preserva- 
tion and maintenance of the rights which, as subjects of Great 
Britun, had been granted to ihem by their ancient charters. 
"Had we been permitted," say they, " to enjoy in quiet the 
inheritance left us by our fathers, we should, at this time, bare 
been peaceably, cheerfully, and usefully employed in recom- 
mending ourselves, by erery testimony of devotion to his 
majesty, and of veneration to the state from which we derive 
our origin. Though now exposed lo unexpected and unoa- 
toral scenes of distress, by a contention with that nation, in 
vhose general guidance, on all important occasions, we have 
hitherto with filial reverence constantly trusted, and there- 
fore can derive no instruction, in our present unhappy and 
perplexing circumstances, from any former experience ; yet 
we doubt not, the purity of our intentions, and the integrity of 
our conduct, will justify us at that great tribunal, before which 
lU mankind must submit to judgment We ask but for 
peace, liberty, and safety. We wish not a diminution of the 
royal prerogatives ; nor do we solicit the grant of any new 
right in our favour." 

To the continental congress, which met at Philadelphia 
in Hay, 1775, Mr. Paine was again a delegate from Masaa- 
At that time, the colonies were greatiy in want of 


gnnpowder. The monufarturc of salt peirc, one of its con- 
stituents, was but imperfectly underHtood. Congress appoint- 
ed a commitlec, of which Mr. Paine was chairman, to intro- 
duce the manufaciure of it. In this particular, he rendered 
esBentisl service to his country, by making eslensive inquiries 
into the subject, and by inducing persons in various parts of 
the provinces to engage in the manufacture of the article. 
The following is among iht letters which he wrote on thia 
subject, which, while it shows his indefatigable attention to 
the subject, will convey to the present generation some idea 
of the muliiforia duties of the patriots of the revolution. Mr. 
Paine alao rendered himself highly useful, as a member of n 
committee for the cncouragemenl of the manufacture of 
cannon, and other implements of war. 

Pktiadelpkia, Jane lOtk, 1715. 
My very dear Sir, 

I cannot express to you the surprise and uneasiness 1 
received on hearing the cimgrESS express respecting the want 
of gunpowder ; it was always a matter thai lay heavy OQ 
my mind ; but the observation 1 made of your attention to iti 
uid your alertness and perseverance in everything you under-, 
take, and your repeatedly expressing it as yottr opinion that we 
had probably enough for this summer's campaign, made mequite 
easy. I rely upon it that measures are taken in your parts of 
the continent to supply this defect. The design of your ex- 
press will be zealously attended to, I think. I have seen one 
of the powder mills here, where they make excellent powderi 
but have worked up all the nitre ; one of our members is 
concerned in a powder mill at New- York, and has a man at 
work making nitre. I have taken pains to inquire into the 
method. Dr. Franklin has seen sal t-petre works at Hanover and 
Paris ; and it attikes me to be as unnecessary, after a certain 
time, to send abroad for gunpowder, as for bread ; provided 
people trill make use of common understanding and industry; 
but for the present we must import from abroad. Major 
Foster told me, at Hartford, he suspected be had some land 
Aat wenld yield nitre ; pray converse with him about iL Dr 


KiBklin'i tccoimt is mnch the Mme u u mentioned in one 
flf the £nt of the American ma^zioes ; the sweeping of the 
■treets, and nibbi^ of old buildings, are made into mortar, and 
bailt into walla, exposed to the air, and once in aboat two 
B<mths scraped and lixiviated, and evaporated ; when I can 
dascribe the method more minutely, I will write you ; mean- 
while, give me leave to condole with you the loaa of Colonel 
Lee. Fray remember me to Colonel Ome, and all other our 
worthy friends. Pray take care of your important health, 
that yon may be able to stand stiff aa a pillar in our new go- 
I moat now aubscribe, with great respect and affeclion, 
Yoiu: humble servant. 

R. T. Paiks. 

Of the congress of 1776, Mr. Piune was also a member ; 
and to the declaration of independence, which that body pub- 
lished to the world, he gave his vote, and affixed his name. 
In the December following, the situation of congress became 
jsatly alarming. The British army were, at this time, ma- 
king rapid advances through New-Jersey, towards Philadel 
phia. The troops of Washington, amounling to scarcely one 
third of the British force, it was thought would not be able to 
reaiat their progress, or prevent their taking possession of 
Hiiladelphia. During ihe alarm excited by an approaching 
foe, congress adjourned to Baltimore. Of the state of con- 
gress, at this ^me, the following letter of Mr. Paine gives an 
iBIeresting account. 

"Our public aftirs have been exceedingly agitated since I 
wrote you loaL The loss of fort Washington made way for 
tfaet of fort Lee ; and the dissolution of our army happening 
U the same time, threw us into a moat disagreeable situation. 
The interception of an express gave the enemy full assurance 
of what they must have had some knowledge of before, the state 
«f oar army ; and they took the advantage of it. In two days 
iter the possession of fort Lee, on the 20lh of November, 
vhore we lost much baggage, and thecbief of our battering can- 
Bon, they marched to the Hackensack, and thence to Newark, 


i^riTing General Washingion before them, wilh his 3000 men; 
thence lo Elizabeth I own. General Washington auppoecd, 
from the best informaiioo he could get, that ihey were 10,001) 
strong; marching with a large body of horse in front, and s 
very large train of artillery. We began to be apprchensire 
they were intended for Philadelphia i and congress sal all 
Sunday in determining proper measures on the occasion. I 
cannot describe lo yon the situation of this city. The pros- 
pect was really alarming. Monday, Sth ; yesterday. General 
Washington crossed (he Delaware, and the enemy arrived at 
Trenton on this side, thirty miles from this place ; close 
quarters for Congress ! It obliges us to move ; we have re- 
solved lo go to Baltimore." 

For ihp years 1777 and 1779, Mr. Paine was a member of 
congress, during the intervals of whose sessions, he filled 
several important ofiRces in the state of Massachusetts. In 
1780, he was called to take a part in the deliberations of the 
convention, which met for the purpose of fanning a constitu- 
tion for the commonwealth. Of the committee which framed 
that excellent instrument, he was a conspicuous member. 
Under the government organized according to this constitu- 
tion, he was appointed attorney general, an office whick 1m 
continued lo hold until 1790, when he was transferred to s 
teat on the bench of the supreme judicial court in this sitna- 
tion he remained till the year 1804, at which time he had m.U 
tained to the advanced age of 73 years. As a lawyer, Mr. 
Paine ranked high among his professional brethren. His 
legal attainments were extensive. In the discharge of his 
duties as attorney general, he had the reputation of unneces- 
sary sererity; but fidelity in ihst station generally prorokea 
the censure of the lawless and licentious. Towards the aban- 
doned and incorrigible he was indeed severe, and was witling 
that the law in all ils penalties should be visited upon them. 
But where crime was followed by repentance, he could be 
moved to tenderness; and while, in the discharge of his offi- 
cial duty, he took care that the law should not fall into dis- 
respect throDgh his ineffici^cy, he at the same time was evei 


mdjr to recommeDd such ai might deseire it to ezecatire 

The important duties of a judge, he diicharged with ho- 
MUT and great impartiality for the ipice of fourteea yean. 
Dming the latter part of this time, he was affected with a 
deafnesB, which, in ■ measure, impaired his usefolners on the 
bench. Few men have rendered more important services to 
the literary and religious institutions of a conntry, than did 
Judge Paine. He gave them all (he support and influence 
of his office, by urging upon grand jurors the faithful exe- 
cution of the laws, the support of schools, and the preserva- 
tion of a strict morality. 

The death of Judge Paine occurred on the eleventh of 
May, 1814, having attained to the age of 64 years. Until 
near the close of life, the vigour of his mental faculties con- 
tinned unimpaired. In quickness of appreheusion. liveliness 
of imagination, and general intelligence, be had few stipe- 
lion. Hu memory was of the most retentive character, and 
he was highly distinguished for a sprightiy and agreeable 
tarn in conversation. A witty severity sometimea excited 
the temporary disquietude of a friend ; but if he was some- 
times inclined to indulge in pleasant raillery, be was willing 
to be the subject of it in his turn. 

As a scholar, he ranked high among literary men, and 
vu distinguished for his patronage of all the useful iostitu* 
lions of the country. He was a founder of the American 
Academy established in Maasachusetts in 17B0, and active in 
ila service until his death. The honorary degree of doctoi 
of laws was conferred upon him by Harvard University. 

Judge Paine was a firm believer in the divine origin of the 
Cbriatian religion. He gave full credence to the scriptures, 
aa a revelation from God, designed to instruct mankind in a 
knowledge of their duty, and to guide them in the way to 
ateninl happiness. 


Eumtvas Obxxt wu bom at Harblahaid, in llu Ata of 
HaflaBchuMttB, on the •eventeeDth day of July, 1744. Hb ft> 
ther was a native of Newton, of respectable parentage and eo^ 
Mxiona. He emigrated to America in 1730, soon after iriiidi, 
be eitabliabed himself a> a merchant in Marblebead, where ka 
flOtitintied to reside until bia deatb, in 177^ He wu mud 
eateemed and respected, as a man of jndgment and dlseretioii. 

Of the early habita or mannera of y oimg Elbridge, UbIo 
la known. He became a member of Harvard College fa^ 
fore he had completed his fourteenth year ; and of cobtm 
was too young at the unirereity to acquire any decided di»* 

Mr. Gerry was orif^nally destined to the pro&sdon of 
medicine, to which bii own iucliuation strongly attached hioib 
But aoon ofter leanng college, he engaged in commereid 
a^iTB, under the direction of his father, and for some yean 
followed the routine of mercantile busineas in his natiTO 
town. Great success attended his commercial enterpriae; 
and within a few years, he found himself in the enjoyineDt 
of a competent fortune. 

It is natural to suppose that the superior education of Mr. 
Gerry, added to the respectable character he sustained, as a 
man of probity and judgment, gave him influence orer the 
people among whom he resided. In May, 1772, the people 
of Marblehead manifested their reipect and confidence by 
sending him a repreaontatire to the general court of the 
province of Massachusetts. In May of the fbUowing year, 
Mr. Gerry was re-elected to the same office. During 
the session of the general court that year, Mr. Samnel 
Adams introduced his celebrated motion for the appointment 
of a standing committee of correspondence and inquiry. 

In accordance with this motion, committees of correepoit- 
der.ce were appointed throughout the province, by means of 
wfaiph intelligence was freely circulated abroad, and a spirit 
of patriotism was infused through all parts of the coBntry. 


^lotifh on« of the yonngeHt membera, Mr. Oerry was ap- 
jxrinted by tlie hoase of repreBentatives, s member of ibii 
committee ; in sll the proceediDgB of vhich, he took an active 
uid prominent part. 

In the month of June, Ihe celebrated Ictten of Gorernor 
Hatchinaon to peraona in England, were laid before the 
house by Mr. Adaroa. The object of these letters, aa noticed 
ink preceding page, was to encourage the British adminia- 
tntion in maintaining their arbitrary meaaurea. In the de- 
bates which ensued on the diacloaure of these lettera, Mr. 
Oeny diatinguished himself, and was indefatigably engaged 
Umngh the year, in forwarding the resolute measures, which 
combined to oTerthrow the royal government of the pro- 
vince. He waa also particularly active in the acenea which 
iniii^d the year 1774. He united in the opposition to the 
importation of tea, and to the Boston port bill ; and heartily 
concurred in the eatabliehment of a system of non-inlercourse 
with the parent country. 

In Ihe month of August, Governor Gage isaued hia prfr 
cepta to the several towns, to choose representatives to meet 
«t Salem, the firat week in October. Before the arrival of 
that day, the governor had countermanded their meeting. 
Notwithstanding thia prohibition, delegates aasemblcd at 
Salem on the seventh of October. There having formed 
themselves into a provincial congress, they adjourned to 
Concord, and proceeded to business. Of this congress Mr. 
Oerry was an active and efficient member. 

On the organization of the assembly, a committee was ap- 
pointed to consider the state of the province. Fourteen of 
the moat distinguished members of the congress, among 
«hom was Mr. Gerry, composed this committee. They pub> 
liihed a bold and energetic appeal, which, in the form of an 
address to Governor Gage, was cslculated to justify the 
Bsthority theyhada8samed,to awaken their conatitaenta to a 
HDse of the dangers they feared, and the injuries they had 

They next appointed a committee of safety, and adopted 
■ to obtain a supply of arma and ammtmitioB ; of 

«UA ft» pMrtoda wu luMBliUr MMlrt> Ai^VMB 
gtalSBd AaaufitU, tppoteud fiiMnloflMi, Md Hair — ^ 
•thn iMuniM w tlw tpproueUmg «Mi mmm4' t«:'Will>< 

^ fcrelKiMay,17W,* M W | i imlB « M ««i i gTtW.<rfwli<hl>r. 
9nrf mm a member, unmUed in CuBbrtd|* Tlibi'M*' 
gMM, like the fimner dne, pnbHtbed u k^ee} to thepMplei 
dMigiwd to exdto and r^iolate that p«triotie qdri^ wUak 
the emergency leqidred. A geaenl ai^nheD^oa paenfla^ 
ftat a pacific temdnalion of dte exbdag tronUei ww not to: 
ba expected. They avowed Aeir aUiorrenee of aetoelkofr 
tiHtiea. bat etia m^ptained their li^t to am hi deAneo ol 
^rir Gomitry. and to prepare ihemgtitrm to re^ vIA A» 

. In the epiing of ITTB^ the proepact of open war ei 
teereaaed. A itrong apprehension pienfled* dwt an • 
vonld be made by th« royal gOTcmor to deelroy snch mOitBir 
stores as had been collected, particnlarly at Concord and 
Worcester. The committee of ufety, in their solicitoda 00 
this subject) stationed a watch at each of these plaeesi to 
gtre an alarm to the surromiding comttry should such an at- • 
tempt be made. 

A short period only elapsed, before the apprehensions of 
the people proved uot to be without foundation. The expe- 
dition to Concord, and the bloody scenes wliich occurred 
both (here and at Lexin^n, ushered in the long expected 
contest "Among the objects of this expedition," obserTes 
Mr. Austin, in his life of Mr. Gerry, " one was to seize the 
persons of some of the influential members of Congress, 
and to hold them as hostages for the moderation of their 
eolleagoes, or send them to England for trial as traitors, and 
thus strike dismay and terror into the minds of their asM>- 
ciales and friends. 

" A committee of congress, among whom were Mr. Geny, 
Colonel Onie, and Colonel Hancock, had been in session on 
the day preceding the march of the troops, in the village of 
Menolomy, then part of the township of Cambridge, on the 
foad to IiSxiDgton. The latter gentleman, after the seeaion 


WH OT«r, had gone to Lexington. Mr. Gerry aod Mr. Ome 
mnained st tha Tillage, the other memben of the committee 
ted diBpersed. 

" Some officers of tlie royal army had been unt out in 
•draiice, who paiaed through the Tillages just before doak, 
la the afternoon of the 18th of April, and although the ap- 
pearance of similar detachments was not uncommon, these 
■ofar attracted the attention of Mr. Oerry, that he despatched 
an express to Colonel Hancock, who, with Samuel Adams, 
was at Lexington. The messenger passed the officers, by 
taking a by-path, and delivered his letter. The idea of per- 
lonal danger does not seem to haTC made any strong imprea- 
•ioa on either of these gentlemen. Mr. Hancock's answer 
to Mr. Gerry bears marks of the haste witli which it was 
written, while it discoTsrs that habitual politeness on the 
fart of the writer, which neither haste or danger could impair. 

Lexington, Aprit ISth, 1775. 
Dear Sir, 

I am mneh obliged for your notice. It is said the officers 
. are gone to Concord, and I will send word thither. I am 
loll with you, that we ought to bo serious, and I hope your 
decision will be effectual. I intend doing myself the plea- 
S>ra of being with you to-morrow. My respects to the 

I am your real friend, 

John Himcocx. 

Mr. Gerry and Colonel Ome retired to rest, without ta- 
king the least precaution against personal exposure, and (hey 
remained quietly in their beds, until the British advance 
were within view of the dwelling house. It was a fine moon- 
Rgfat night, and they quietly marked the glittering of its 
beams, on the polished arms of the soldiers, as the troops 
BOTed with the silence and regularity of accomplished discip- 
3ae. The front passed on. When the centre were opposite 
to the house, occupied by the committee, an officer and file 
ef men were detached by signal, and marched towards it. it 


WM not until thii moment they entertained uty apprdtennoa 
of danger. While the olficer wu posing hii files, the gen- 
tlemen found mevu, by their better knowledge of the premi- 
MB, to eflcape. half dressed as they were, into an adjoining 
cornfield, where they renuined concealed for more than an 
hour, until the troops were withdrawn. Every apartment of 
the house was searched ' for the members of the rebel con- 
gress ;' even the beds in which they had lain were examined. 
But their properly, and among other things, a valuable watch 
of Mr. Gerry's, which was under his pillow, was not di^ 

A few dsys a^er the skirmishes at Lexington and Concordt 
the provincial congress re-assembled. It was now appaiviit 
that the controversy must be decided by force of arms. At 
this time, it was found that almost every article of a military 
bind was yet to be procured. The province possessed no 
magazines of arms, and had little ammunition. No contracts 
for provision or clothing had yet been made. To meet these 
exigencies, a committee, al ihe head of which was Mr. 
Oerry, was immediately appointed, and clothed with the 
proper power. Th<j article most needed wag thai of gun- 
powder, to procure which, Mr. Gerry was specially commis- 
sioned by the committee. In the discharge of this duty, he 
wrote- many letters to gentlemen in different parts of the 
country, from whom he received others in rcplf. One of 
these will be found in the life of Robert Treat Poine, in a 
preceding page. Mr. Gerry did more : in many cases ho 
hesitated not to advance his own fund:), where immediate 
payment was required. In the progress of the war, the evi- 
dence of these payments was lost, or mislaid, and their final 
settlement was attended with heavy pecuniary loss. 

On the 17th day of June, was fought the celebrated battle 
of Bunker Hill. The provincial congress was at that time in 
session, at Watertown. Before the battle. Dr. Joseph Warren, 
president of the congress, who was the companion and room 
mate of Mr, Gerry, communicated to the latter his inlention 
of mingling in the expected contest. The night preceding 
ihe doctor's departure for Bunker Hill, he lodged, it is said. 

IB the nme bed with Mr. Gerry. In the morniag, ia reply 
to the ftdmonitionfl of his friend, u he wu about to lesTe 
him, he uttered the well known words, " Ihttce et deraram 
at, pro patria mori"* 

Mr. Gerry, on that day, attended the proYincial con^^ress. 
Hia brsTe friend, aa is well known, followed where his dnty 
called him, to the memorable " heights of Bunker," where 
be fell fighting for the cause uf liberty and his country. 

At an early period in 1775, Mr. Gerry submitted a propo- 
nl in the provincial congress of Massachusetts, for a Isw to 
encourage the fitting out of armed ressels, and to provide for 
the adjudication of prizes. This was a step of no small im- 
portance. To grant letters of marque and of reprisal, ig the 
prerogative of the sovereign. For a colony to authorise 
inch an act, was rebellious, if not treasonable. The proposal 
WSM sustained, though not without opposition. Mr. Gerry 
was chairman of the committee appointed to prepare the act 
to authorise privateering, and to establish admiralty courts. 
Governor Sullivan was another member of it; and on these 
two gentlemen devolved the task of drawing the act, which 
they executed in a small room under the belfry of the Water- 
town meeting house, in whieh the provincial congress was 
holding its session. This law, John Adams pronounced 
one of the most important measures of the Revolution. 
Under the sanction of it, the Massachusetts cruizers captured 
many of the enemy's vessels, the cargoes of which furnished 
Tarioua articles of necessity to the colonies. 

Of the court of admiralty, established in pnnuance of the 
law proposed by Mr. Gerry, that gentleman himself was ap- 
pointed a judge, for the counties of Suffolk, Middlesex, and 
Essex. This honour, however, he declined, from a determi- 
BBtion to devote himself to more active duties. 

To such duUes, he was not long after called, by the suffra- 
ges of his fellow citizens, who elected him a delegate from 
Haaaachusetts to the continental congress, in which body he 
took his seat, on the 9th of Febmair, 1776. For this 
distinguished station he was eminently fitted ; and of this 
* It if iwect and glorlons to lay down Sta Bit ooe'i acmitaj. 

b«dr Iw emdBwd a numbsr villi &w JnUwiK mMU Mtf 
toa^Biv 1786. Oar fimita pradada a.iDiaiits.iMtiM «C tht 
nricMi dntioa wUeh ba then SmctiHtgad. Oil 'Variooa nrw 
tioam he waa appointed to terre on oommiUaeat vhoaaba^ 
aaiB raqidnd .great labonrt and wboaa ntnlta involTed the 
Ugfaett intsreata of the eoantrfi Ha aariatad in amaiging 
the plan of a genanl iMMirftal, and of introdoeiiif - a bftlef 
diadpline into the army; and regulating thn nnnnnliaaiji'i 
deputmeata. In Mraral initaneaat he vu appointed, with 
athara, to viait the anny, to exBmine the atate of the bumjf 
and financea of the eonntryi and to etpadite the lettlenuBt 
of pnUic accounta. In die ezereiae of his variona ofteial 
taction*, no man exlubited mora fidelity, or a more imw«avi> 
ad aaaL Ha anatained the character-of an aetire and raanhtta 
ihlnamanj and retired from the eonneila of the con&daiadj, 
vith all the hononra which patriotiMn, integrity, and tdentik 
aould acquire in the aernee of the itate. Before leering 
New-York, he married ■ respectable lady, who had been 
educated in Europe, with whom h« now returned to Haaaa- 
chusettfl, end fixed his reaidence at Cembridge, a few milna 
from Beaton. 

From the quiet of retirement, Mr> Qerry was again aniiH 
moned in 1787. by hia tutive state, as one of its representa- 
tiTCa to a conrention, called for the " sole and express par- 
pose of reviling the articles of confederation, and reporting 
to congress, and to the sereral legislatures, such altera^ona 
and provisions sa shall render the federal constitution ade- 
qoate to the exigencies of government, and the preservation 
of the onion." 

On the meeting of this convention, little difference of 
opinion prevailed, as to the great principles which should 
form the basis of the constitution ; but on reducing these 
piineiplee to a eyatem, perfect harmony did exist To Mr. 
deny, as well as others, there appeared strong objections to 
the conaUtnlion, and he declined affixing bia signature to the 
inatrament These objecdons he immediately set forth, in a 
letter addressed to his constituents, in which he observes : 

" My principal objections to the plan are, that there ia no 


■deqnate profiaion for a repreaentalion of the people ; that 
ihey hare no secnrity for the right of election ; that some ol 
the powera of the legislature are ambiguoua, and others in- 
definite and dangerous; that the ezecutire ia blended widi, 
and irill have an undue influence over, the legislature ; that 
Ihe judicial department will be oppressire ; that treaties of 
the highest importance may be formed by the president, with 
Ihe advice of two thirds of a quorum of the senate ; and that 
the system is without the aecufity of a bill of rights. These 
are objections which are not locsli but apply equally to all 
Ihe states. 

" As the conrention was called for ' the sole and express 
purpose of reriaing the articles of confederation, and report- 
mg to congress and to the sereral legislatures, auch altera- 
tions and prorisions as shall render the federal constitution 
adequate to the exigencies of govemmeDt, and the preserva- 
tion of the union,' I did not conceive that these powera ex- 
tended to the formation of the plan proposed; but the con- 
vention being of a different opinion, I acquiesced in it ; being 
lidly convinced, that to preserve the union, an efficient go- 
vernment was indispensably necessary ; and that it would b« 
difficult to make proper amendments to the articles of con- 

" The constitution proposed hae few, if any, federal fea- 
tures, but is rather a system of national government ; never- 
theless, in many respects, I think it has great merit, and, by 
proper amendments, may be adapted to ' the exigencies of go 
vernment,' and the preservation of liberty." 

When the constitution was submitted to the state eonven- 
lian of Massachusetts, of three hundred and sixty members, 
of which that body consisted, a majority of nineteen only 
were in lavonr of its ratification. Although so many coin- 
tided with Mr. Gerry in his views of the constitution, he was 
Ughly censured by its advocates, who, under the excitement 
of party feelings, imputed lo him motives by which he, pro- 
bably, was not actuated. 

Under the new constitution, Mr. Gerry was chosen by (lie 
InhabitanlB of the district in which he resided, as their repre- 

■aHiliT» to congTM*. In ^ivMiMi hmmntiMmaomat 
taoMaforfimrTaus; aitd, «hho«gh hi Iwd fcii wiy qy^aanfc 
the adoptioD«f tlw eoii»tUiitUH»thB*i»riiliiliMI| MHij-iir 
Mnjring it Into e&el, ■inca it bad iMiirad Ab IMwiiaa A 
Ua conntrr. Indaed, ha look oeeaaieB, ■■ fta Jm» «f trm 
ireaa, not long aftar taking hia aaat in thai bo^ tt iaohMft 
•*dut the Mml conatttnUon hariag h a w M Ifaa aftpti»t 
hnr of tfaolatidiba eoncaiTed thOaalratioB of th» twmtlig 
dapanded on ita being earriod loto oStet" -'i 

At the axpintion of tha abora pariod, althon^ igala ftmt 
poaed u a delegate to congras, ha declined a m nlnnriwij mwM 
again retired to bia family at Cambridge. t 

On the fourth of March. ITBT, Mr. Ad— a, whs bad ft^ . 
vlowly bean elected to succeed Oeaara] WaaUagton is. ihft 
preaidancjr, entered upon that ofiea. Fnaw bad alrMafft 
eonunenced her aggreiaions on the zi^Ka and eoamarM 4i(. 
tha United Sutei, and General Finckney had beaa diapatabis 
ed to that country, to adjust exiating difierancaa. 

Immediately upon succeeding to the preaideneyi Mr 
Adams received intelligence that the French republic had 
aononaced to General Pinckney lu determination '* not to 
receive another minister from the United States, until after 
the redress of grievances." 

In this state of things, the president convened congress by 
proclamation, on the fifteenth of June. Although keenly 
aensible of the indignity offered to the country by the French 
government, Mr. Adams, in his speech to congress, informed 
that body, " that ss he believed neither the honour, nor the 
interests of the United States, absolutely forbade the ropeii- 
lion of advances for securing peace and friendship with 
France, he should institute a fresh attempt at negociatioo." 

Upon hia recommendation, therefore, three envoys extra 
ordinary, Mr. Gerry, General Finckney, and Mr. Marshall, 
were diapatciied to carry into eflect the pacific dispositions of 
the United Sutes. On their arrival at Paris, the French di- 
rectory, under various pretexts, delayed to acknowledge 
llwm in their official capacity. In the mean time, the tools 
of that gorernment addressed theo, demandingi in explicit 


ternis, a h^rge ram of money, as the condition of any nego- 
dation. This being refused, an attempt was next made to 
excite their fears for themselres, and their country. In the 
spring of 1796, two of the envoys, Messrs. Pinckney and 
Marshall, were ordered to quit the territories of France, while 
Mr. Gerry was invited to remain, and resume the negociation 
which had been suspended. 

Although Mr. Gerry accepted the invitation to remain, yet 
he uniformly and resolutely refused to resume the negocia- 
tion. His object in remaining in France was to prevent an 
immediate rupture with that country, which, it was appre- 
hended, would result from his departure. Although he was 
censured, at the time, for the course he took, his continuance 
seems to have resulted in the good of his country. ** He 
finally saved the peace of the nation," said the late President 
Adams, " for he alone discovered and furnished the evidence 
that X. Y. and Z. were employed by Talleyrand ; and he 
alone brought home the direct, formal, and official assurances 
upon which the subsequent commission proceeded, and peace 
was made.'* 

On his return to America, in October, 1798, Mr. Gerry 
was solicited, by the republican party in Massachusetts, to 
become their candidate for the office of governor. At that 
period, much excitement prevailed on the subject of politics, 
throughout the country. Although at first unsuccessful, his 
party, in 1805, for the first time, obtained the governor of 
their choice. 

In the following year, Mr. Gerry retired. But in 1810, he 
was again chosen chief magistrate of that commonwealth, hi 
which office he was continued for the two following years. 
In 181% he was recommended to the people of the United 
States, by the republican members of congress, to fill the of- 
fice of vice president. To a letter addressed to him, by a 
committee announcing his nomination, he replied, ^* The 
question respecting the acceptance, or non-acceptance of 
this proposition, involved many considerations of great 
weight, in my mind ; as they related to the nation, to this 
state, and to my domestic concerns. But it is neither expe« 

Hmt or ftBca— ry to <t>l« -the piriahj' rfaw ■—'wM-fa 
aiooat to die mt, that < ia « vepoUe^ At MkHta tt^aA 
iMiMi ii doe to tiio itals, oren la p ~ 

Ibire tlwlMWHir&ttiklyto •dnoaMgbtUidMtaglMMd 
MtbnoBj o£ eoniid««!ek «■ tho put of arf ta^gntdoM 
frlondi tnd fellov ddiein, gntefttll^ to MMpt 4Mr pn&r, 
■Bd ftedy to mnm thsm of orary smtioK in 'ny pu wi t, fbr 
Meriting in ofiee, tfae ^tprobetion ef themeahM ud of llto 

■Hte nomfaatton of Ifa. Gerry, thni intie, it— tiMlhrtAtf 
hk electi<», ud on the fourth of Uutit, ISIS, he WM imt- 
ftmled Tiee pieiident of tiie United Stetee. riBiiieaei. 
koweTer, had not deetined him to the long eq^efaaatof te 
dignified etation wMeh he now heU. While itl^Ang to hfa 
daliee, at WaihlDgton, ha wa« niddenly nmnoned tktm tte 
■cene of hia earthly Uboon. A beautiflil mononunti « 
at the national expense) corera his n 
date and drcnmitancef of hia death. 


TIm Praaiiiait (tf Um Unitad Bmm, 

Wl»di«diuddeiUy, lathkcitjr, dd hia wm7 ta the 

Clfilo], u PnindeDt of ttw Saode, 

November 23d, 1614. 


hew-hampshire: dblegatiok. 


Mattbkt Thobmtoh. 


JoniB Bartlett, the firat of the New-Hampshire dejec- 
tion who ligned the declaration of independence! waa bom 
tn Amesbuiy, MusachusettB, in ITW. He was the fourth 
ton of Stephen Bartlett, whose ancestors came from England 
doling the seventeenth century, and settled at Bererly. 

The early education of young Bartlett appears to have been 
rapectablei although be had not the adysntages of a col- 
legiate course. At the age of sixteen he began the study of 
nedicine, for which be had s competent knowledge of the 
Greek and Latin languages. 

On finishing his preliminary studiest which were superin- 
tendedby Dr. Ordway, of Amesbnry, and to whichhe devoted 
Umself with indefatigable zeal for five yean, he commenced 
the practice of his profession at Kingston, in the year 1760. 

Two years from the above date, he was attacked by a fever, 
which for a time aeriously threatened his life. From an inju- 
dicious application of medidnea, and too close a confinement 
to Ma chamber, life appeared to be rapidly ebbing, and all 
hopea of his recovery were relinquished. In thia aituation, 
one evening, he strongly soUcited his attendants to give him 
aome eider. At first they were strongly reluctant to comply 
^d) Uf wiahea, onder a juat apprehetiaim)) that artioua and 


cren fiital consequencea might euBiie. Tha patient, howarert 
would not be pacified, until hia reqneat waa granted At 
length tlicy complied with hia request, and of the cider thus 
given him, he continned to drink at inteirala during the night. 
The effect of it proved highly beneficial. It mitigated the 
febrile symptoms, b copious perspiration ensoed, and from 
this time he began to recover. 

This experiment, if it may be called an expenment, was 
treasured up in the mind of Dr. Bartlett, and seems to have led 
him to abondon the rules of arbitrary system, for the more 
just principles of nature and experience. He became a skil- 
ful and distinguished practitioner. To him ia aacribed the 
first application of Peruvian bark in caaes of canker, which 
before, was considered an inflammatory, inatead of a putrid 
diaeaee, and as such had been unsuccessfully treated. 

This disease, which was called the throat distemper, first 
appeared at Kingston, in the spring of 1736. The first per> 
son afflicted with it, was said to have contracted the disease 
from a hog, which he siiinned and opened, and which had 
died of a distemper of the throat. The disease which was 
supposed thus to hate originated, aoon after spread abroad 
through the town, and to children under ten years of age it 
proved exceedingly fatal. Like the plague, it swept its vic- 
tims to the grave, almost without warning, and some are said 
to have expired while sitting at play handling their toys. At 
this lime, medical skill was baffled ; every method of treat- 
ment pursued, proved inetTcctual. It ceased its ravages only 
where victims were no longer to be found. 

In the year 1754, Kingston waa again visited with this ma- 
lignant disease. Doctor Bartlett was at this time a physician 
of the town. At first he treated it as an inflammatory diseaae ; 
but at length, satisfied that this was not its character, he ad- 
ministered Peruvian bark to a child of his own who was 
afflicted with the disease, and with entire success. From thia 
time the use of it became general, as a remedy in diseases of 
the same type. 

A man of the distinguished powers of Doctor Bartlett, ami 
of bis decision and integrity, waa not likely long to remain 


nnnoticedt in times which tried men's lonls. The public at- 
tention waa *ooa directed to him, as a gentleman in whom 
confidence might be reposed) and whose duties, wbateTer ihvf 
might be, would be discharged with promptness and fidelity. 

In the year 176&, Doctor Bartlett was elecud to the legis- 
lature of the province of New-Hampshire, from the town of 
Kingston. In his legislative capacity, he soon found occa- 
sion to oppose the mercenary views of the royal governor. 
He would not become subservient to the will of a man whoae 
object, next to the display of his own authority, was the sub- 
jection of the people to the authority of the British adminia- 

The controversy between Great Britain and her colonies, 
was DOW beginning to assume a serious aspect. At this time. 
John Wentworth was the royal governor, a man of no ordi- 
nary sagacity. Aware of the importance of attaching the dis- 
tinguished men of the colony to the royal cause, among other 
magiatrstes, he appointed Dr. Bartlett to the office of justice 
of the peace. This was indeed an inconsiderable honour; 
but as an evidence of the governor's respect for his talents 
and influence, was a point of some importance. Executive 
patronage, however, wu not a bait by which such a man as 
Dr. Bartlett would be seduced. He accepted the appoint- 
ment, but was as firm in his opposition to (he royal governor 
u he bad been before. 

The opposition which was now abroad in America against 
the Brituh government, and which continued to gather 
■treogth until the year 1T74, had made equal progress in 
the province of New-Hampshire. At this time, a committee 
of correspondence, agreeably to the recommendation and ex- 
ample of other colonies, was appointed by the house of repre- 
sentatives. For this act, the governor immediately dissolved 
the assembly. But the committee of correspondence soon 
after re^asiembled the representatives, by whom circulars 
were addressed to the sevenl towns, to send delegates 
to a convention, to be held at Exeter, for the purpose of se- 
lecting deputtes to the continental congress, which was to 
neat at PUladelphia in the ensuing September. . 



lular gmkasB widiiag ako toh«« 

wra sMctM In nmr imd* , - -, . ^ 

Dr. BBTtfett, bowerer, Ntiiiicd hb Hit fa As te«i «Clipr> 
naentatiTMoftlM pronnce. H««, •• ]■ cAw M|Mii<b-A» 
eoHbioiu benreen ibe royal govamor sad As paaffe wv 
finned to increwe. The foniMr ww not* uUtmj Ik ^i* 
(lonedingi; the hlter bettor ■ndenlM< Aqir H^tH >•' 
were iDore independent The conqiieuoai pvt riMi 1^ 
KrtkU took on the pKtriotie ride, Ae iiBMM vtt aU^A* 
reriited die royal ezaetioiia, icnd ewd Ub U^d^obas^iPi 
fe the pmmor, by whomhewMdapitTadofhliaaHBAidi* 
as Jaidee of the peaee, and laeonicaBy fianinad Awv Urn 
command in the miHtia. 

From thii time, the poUlicftl difficoltiea in New-Hanpahbe 
greatly increased. At length, Goremor WentWotA finad It 
neceswiy for hii personnl safety to retire on board Ae 
Favey man of war, then lyingf in the harbour of PortamotiA. 
From Ais he went to Boston, and Aence to Ae lale of Shoali, 
where he issued his proclamation, adjoamiog the aasembly 
till Ae foIlawiDg April. This act, howeyer, (ciminated the 
royal goremment in Ae province of New-Hampshire. A 
provincial congress, of which MatAew Thornton was presi- 
dent, was soon called, by which a temporary govenunent was 
organized, end an oath of allegiance was framed, whidi erery 
individoal was obliged to take. Thus, after subsisting for a 
period of ninety years, the British goTemment was forerer 
annihilated in New-Hampshire. 

In September, 177&, Dr. Bartlett, who had been elected to 
Ae continental congress, took his seat in Aat body. In Ais 
new situation, he acted wiA his accustomed energy, and ren- 
dered important services to his country. At this time, con- 
fress met at nine in Ae momiag, and continued its seanon 
nntil four o'clock in Ae afternoon. The state of Ae coimtry 
Mqidred this ineeiaant application of Ae membera. Bat 

uxiely and fmtigne they could eadnra without repining;. Th« 
lirei tnd fortunes of dienuelres and familiea, and fellov 
cidiens, vers in jeopBrdj'. Liberty, too, wu in jeopardy. 
Like faithfol sentinels, therefore, they siutained with cheer> 
fuineaa their Isboriona task ; and, when occasion required, 
could dispense with the repose of nights. In this unwearied 
dcrotion to business, Dr. Bartlett largely participated ; in 
consequence of which, his health end spirits were for a time 
considerably affected. 

In a second election, in the eariy part of the year 1770, 
Dr. Bartlett was again chosen a delegate to the continental 
congress. He was present on the memorable occasion of 
taking the rote on the question of a declaration of indepen- 
dence. On putting the qitestion, it was agreed to begin with 
the northernmost colony. Dr. Bartlett, therefore, had tba 
honour of being called upon for an expression of his opinion, 
and of first ^ving his vote in favour of the resolution. 

On the evacuation of Philadelphia, by the British, in 1778, 
congress, whirh had for some time held its sessions at York> 
town, adjourned to meet at the former place, within three 
days, that is, on the second day of July. The delegates now 
left Yorktown, and in different companies proceeded to the 
place of adjournment. Dr. Bartlett, however, was attended 
only by a single servanL They were under the necessity of 
passing through a forest of considerable extent ; it was re- 
ported to be the lurking place of a band of robbers, by whom 
several persona had been waylaid, and plundered of their 
effects. On arriving at an inn, at the entrance of the wood. 
Dr. Bartlett was informed of tlie existence of this band of 
desperadoes, and cautioned against proceeding, until other 
Uavellers should arrive. White the doctor lingered for the 
porpote of refreshing himself and horses, the landlord, to 
corroborate the statement which he had made, and to heighten 
still more the apprehension of the travellers, related the fol- 
lowing anecdote. "A paymaster of the army, with a large 
quntity of paper money, designed for General Washington, 
lad attempted the passage of the wood, a few weeks before. 
OnirriTing at the skirts of the wood, he was apprised of 


hia danger, but u it wu necesury for him to procMcl, be 
laid aside hia military garb, purchased a worn out hone, and 
m laddle and bridle, and a farmer's saddlebags of correspond 
iag appearance : in the latter, he deposited his money, and 
with a careless manner proceeded on his way. At soma dis- 
tance from the skirt of the wood, he was met by two of the 
gang, who demanded hia money. Others were skulking at 
no great distance ia the wood) and waiting the issue of the 
interview. To the demand for money, he replied, that ha 
had a small sum, which they were at liberty to take, if th^ 
believed they had a better right to it than himself aad b 
mily. Taking from his pocket a few small pieces of money, 
bo offered them to them; at the same time, in the style and 
simplicity of a quaker, he spoke to them of tlie duties of reU> 
gion> Deceived by the sir of honesty which he assumed, 
tfacy suffered him to pass, without further molestation, tha 
one observing to the other, that so poor a quaker was not 
worth the robbing. 'Without any further interruption, tha 
poor qunker reached the other side of the wood, and at length 
delivered the contents of his saddlebags to General Wash- 

During the relation of thia anecdote, several other members 
of congress arrived, when, having prepared their arms, they 
proceeded on their journey, and in safety passed over the in- 
fested territory. 

On the evacuation of Philadelphia, it was obviouB from the 
condition of the city, that an enemy hod been tlicre. In a 
letter to a friend. Dr. Bartlett describes the alterations and 
ravages which had been made. " Congress," he says, " was 
obliged to hold its sessions in the college hall, the slate house 
having been left by the enemy in a condition which could 
scarcely be described. Many of the finest houses were con- 
verted into stables ; parlour floors cut through, and the dung 
shovelled through into the cellars. Through the country, 
north of the city, for many raiies, the hand of desolation had 
marked its way. Houses had been consumed, fences carried 
off, gardens and orchards destroyed. Even the great roads 


wen Bcarceljr lo be discovered, amidit the eonfmion and de- 
roUtioD which prevailed." 

In Augiut, 177B, b new election took place in New-Hamp- 
■hire, when Dr. Bartlelt was again chosen a delegate to con- 
gress ; he continued, however, at Philadelphia, but an incon- 
ninabie p«rt of the sessioD, his domestic concerns requiring 
his attention. During the remainder of his life, he resided in 
New-Hampshire, filling up the measure of his usefulness in a 
seolons devotion to the interests of the state. 

In the early part of the year 1779, in a letter to one of the 
delegates in congress. Dr. Bartlett gives a deplorable accouni 
of the difficulties and suflerings of the people in New-Hamp- 
■hire. The money of the country had become much depre- 
dated, and provisions were scarce end high. Indian com 
was sold at ten dollars a boshel. Other things were in the 
nme proportion. The soldiers of the army could scarcely 
nibsist on their pay and the officers, at times, found it diffi- 
enit to keep them togetlier. 

During the same year. Dr. Bartlett was appointed chief 
jnstice of the court of common pleas. In 1782, he became 
an associate jnstice of the supreme court, and in 1788, he 
was advanced to the head uf the bench. In the course of 
this latter year, the present eonstitulion was presented to the 
several states, for their consideration. Of the convention in 
IfeW'Haaipshire, which adopted it. Dr. Bartlett was a member, 
and by his real was accessory to its ratification. In 1789, 
be was elected a senator to congress ; but the infirmities of 
age induced him to decline the office. In 1793, he was elect- 
ed first governor of the stale, which office he filled, with his 
accustomed fidelity, until the infirm state of his health obliged 
him to resign the chief magistracy, and to retire wholly from 
public business. In January, 1794, he expressed his deter- 
mination to close his public career in the following letter lo 
the legislature : 

" Gentlemen of the Legislature — After having served the 
public for a number of years, to the best of my abilities, in 
the various offices to which I have had the honour lo he ap- 
pointed, I think it proper, before your adjournment, to signify 
8 12- 

UB mw-BAMnHiix sELxaATioir. 

to you, and through you to my fellow citizeni at Urge, that 1 
now find myself so far advanced in age, that it will be expe- 
dient for me, at the close of the session, to retire from tfas 
cares and fatigues of public business, to the repose of a pri- 
vate life, with a grateful sense of the repeated marks of trust 
and confidence that my fellow citizens hare reposed in me, 
and with my best wishes for the future peace and prosperity 
of the slate." 

The repose of a private life, however, which must have be- 
come eminently desirable to a man whose life had been past 
in the toils and troubles of the revolution, was destined to 
be of short duration. This eminent man, and distinguished 
patriot, closed his earthly career on the nineteenth day of 
May, 1796, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. 

To the sketches of the life of this distinguished man, little 
need he added, respecting his character. His patriotism wu 
of a singularly elevated character, and the sacrifices which be 
made for ihe good of his country were such as few men are 
willing to make. He paaacased a quick and penetrating mind, 
and, at the same time, he was distinguished for a sound and 
accurate jndgmenL A scrupulous justice marked his dealings 
with all men, and he exhibited great fidelity in his engage- 
ments, or his religious views we arc unable to speak with 
confidence, although there is some reason to bcliere that his 
principles were less strict, than pertained to the puritans of 
the day. He rose to oflice, and was recommended to the 
confidence of his fellow citizens, not leas by the general pro- 
Inly of his character, than the force of his genius. Unlike 
many others, he had no family, or party connexions, to raise 
him to influence in society ; but standing on his own merits, 
he passed through a succession of offices which be sustained 
with uncommon honour to himself, and the duties of which he 
discharged not only to the satisfaction of his fellow citizens, 
but with the highest benefit to his country. 




William Whipple waa the eldest bod of William Whipple, 
«Bd wu bom at Kiltery, Maine, in the year 1730. His father 
vu a natire of Ipawich, and wns bred a maluter ; but for aevo- 
nl yean after his removal to Kitlery, he fallowed the sea. His 
mother was the daughter of Robert Cults, a distinguished ship- 
botMer, who establiiihed hiniielf at Kitlery, where he became 
wealthy, and at his death left a handsome fortune to his 

The education of young Whipple was limited to a public 
school, in his native town. It was respectable, but did not 
embrace that variety and extent of learning, which is general- 
ly obtained at some higher seminary. 

On leaving school, he entered on board a merchant vessel, 
and for several years devoted himself to commercial business) 
OD the sea. His voyages were chiefly confined to the West- 
Indies, and proving successful, he acquired a considerable 

In 1759, he relinquished a seafaring life, and commenced 
bnainess with a brother at Portsmouth, where they continued 
in trade, until within a few years of the revolution- 
Mr. Whipple early entered with spirit into the controversy 
between Great Britain and the colonies, and being distin- 
guished for the general probity of his character, as well as 
for the force of his genius, was frequently elected by his 
townsmen to offices of truttt and responsibility. In the pro- 
vincial congress, which met at Exeter, January, 1775, for the 
purpose of electing delegates to the continental congress in 
Philadelphia, he represented the town of Portsmouth. He 
also represented that town in the provincial congress, which 
was assembled at Exeter the following May, and by that body 
WIS appointed one of the provincial committee of safety. In 
177S he was appointed a delegate to the general congress, of 
which body he continued a member until the middle of Sep- 
tember, 1709. 
In this important situation, be was distingaished foi ^eat 


wliTitf t and hf hii peraerennce utd ^ifdlcKtloa 6 
UniMlf to the rMpwt of the nstumil memMri and to Us 
'ooutitiie&ta at home. Ho wu puiienkrly aetiTO ta oao of 
the anparintendanta of the eommisaarj^ •ndtimrtRMaatw'* 
jap ai lmenla, in iriiich he wu anccawflil in eamcting mu^' 
abnaeo, and in ginng to thoae eatahUahmeBta a pnpar eo» 
iMtMMand efficiencf. 

. ■* Hio auauoMe day which gam UiA to tlw doohrnlian 
•C independanee afforded, in the caaa of Willian 'WUpide," 
at a writer obaerreo, *■ a atriking ■«p'p'« of the vneerUdsCr 
of human ofiUra, and the trimnpha of persereranee. Thu 
flitbin boy, who thir^ yean l»efore had loohad forward to a 
command of a reaaelaa ttm ^wniimMtlMi afrntl Mm ImpMaaH. 
Viahei, now itood amidat the congreaa of 1T76^ and lookal 
wotmd upon a eonelare of patriot!, an^ a* the worid had mht 
TitowMd. He whoae ambition onee cantered In towtib* 
fng hia name aa commander upon a crew-Uit, now afiixed Ua 
aigaatnre to a document, which haa embalmed it for poaterity.** 
In die year 1777, while Mr. Whipple waa a nwffll>er of 
eongresR, tho appointment of brigadier general waa beatowed 
upon him, and the celebrated John Stark, by the auembly of 
New-Ham pflhire. Great alarm at thia time prevailed in New- 
Hampshire, in consequence o{ the eracualion of Ticonderoga 
by the Americana, its consequent possession by the British, 
and the progress of General Burgoyue, with a large force, 
toward the state. Tho militia of New-Hampshire were ez- 
peditioDsly organised into two brigades, the command of 
which was giren to the above two generals. The intrepid 
conduct of General Stark, in the ever memorable defence of 
Bennington, must be only alluded to in this place. The advan- 
tage thai gained, laid the foundation of the still more signal vic- 
tory which was obtained in the October following by OeneiaJ 
Gates, over the distinguished Burgoyne and his veteran sol- 
diers, at Saratoga ; since it waa here proved to the militia, 
that the Hessians and Indians, so much dreaded by them, 
were not invincible. The career of conquest vrMch had before 
animated the troops of Burgoyne was checked. For the first 
time, General Burgoyne was aenaible of the danger of his 


ittinlian. He hsd regarded the men or New-Hsmpahire, and 
the Green Hountaina, with conteropL But the battle of 
BcDiungtOD taught him both to fear and respect them. In a 
letter addressed about this time to Lord Germaine, he re- 
marka : " The New-Hampshire Grants, till of late but little 
known, hang like a cloud on my IcA." 

The ill bodings of Burgoyne were reahsed loo soon, for 
his own reputation. The militia from the neighbouring states 
hastened to reinforce the army of General Gates, which was 
now loolcing forward to an engagement with that of General 
Bui^oyne. This engagement soon after took place, as air 
ready noticed, at Saratoga, and ended in the surrender of the 
royal army to the American troops. In this desperate battle, 
General Whipple commanded the troops of New-Hampshire. 
On that occasion, his meritorious conduct was rewarded by 
hia being jointly appointed with Colonel Wilkinson, as the re- 
presentatiTe of General Gales, to meet two officers from Gen- 
eral Burgoyne, and settle the articles of capitulation. He was 
also selected as one of the officers, who were appointed to 
conduct the surrendered army to their destined encampment, 
on Winter Hilt, in the vicinity of Boston. On this expedi- 
tion. Genersl Whipple was attended by a faithful negro ser- 
vant, named Prince, a native of Africa, and whom the gene- 
ral bad imported several years before. " Prince," said the 
general, one day, as they were proceeding to their place of 
destination, " wo may be called into action, in which cage, 
I trust you will behave like a men nf courage, and fight 
bnvely for the country." " Sir," replied Prince, in a manly 
lone, ** I have do wish to fight, and no inducement ; but had I 
my liberty, I would fight in defence of the country to the last 
drop of my blood." " Well," said the general, " Prince, from 
Ihia moment yon are free." 

In 1T78, General Whipple, xrith a detachment of New- 
Hanpshire militia, was engaged, under General Sullivan, in 
executing a plan which had for its object the retaking of 
Rhode Island from the British. By some misunderstanding, 
Ihe French fleet, under Count D'Estaing, which was destined 
to cD-operste with General Sullivan, fidled of rendering the 

iBipMiMd MibaaeAt In eoBMqiM 
tan wu obliged ta ntnst 

feoopi, Mcnirfad s poailion on du north Ud of An I 
Obc moning, while « mnnbcr of oSeen w«« httetfteHug 
fatbogiettenJ'iqaarten, edetednwBt'efBritliiht»o|iiwen 
pereelred on an eminenoe, at (he diitesee of ebevt Ana 
^tartan of a mQe. A field piees wai Mon after dbeba^ed . 
if dte enemy, Ae ball> of wUeh, after Uffiag one of M 
boTHi at the door, peiaed through dio iMe of the honalt iBttt 
the room where the officers were iltting, and io riiatlafad tto 
kg of the brigade major of General Whipple, Uiat Inaaa^ 
Aats ampntation became neceaaarjr. 

During the remaining yean of Mr. Whipple*! lift, be ftlM 
■areral important offieea. In 1780, he waa deeted a re|Ma> 
isntatire to the genenl asaembly of New-HampeUn, tba 
dntlea of which office he continued Io diaebarge daring aofa- 
ral re-eleet!ona, with much honour to hinuelf, and to die ge- 
neral acceptance ofhis cooatitueiita. 

In 1782, he received the appointment of reeeiTer of pnUic 
moneys for the state of New-Hampshire, from Mr. Monfai 
the superintendant of finance. The appointment wai accept- 
ed by Mr. Whipple, but the duties derolring upon bim wera 
both arduous and unpopular. The collection of money was, 
at that time, extremely difficult. Mr. Whipple experienced 
Biany rexations in the exercise of his commission; and at 
length, in ITSi, found it necessary, on account of the infirm 
■late of his health, to relinquish his office. About the same 
time that he received the above appointment, be was created 
a Judge of the superior court of judicature. He began now, 
however, to be affiicted with strictures in the breast, wUcb 
prerented him from engaging in the more active scenes of 
Gfe. He was able, however, to ride the circuits of the court 
fin- two or three years, but owing to an afl^ction of the heartt 
he waa unable (o aom up the arguments of council, or state a 
eanae (o the jury. 

In the Ml of 1786, while riding the circuit, his disorder ao 
ra[ddly increased, that he was obliged to return home. 
From ihia time be was confined to bis room, until the 28lli 


<hy at November, when he expired, in tbe 66th yeu of hit 


He mind of Hr. Whipple was naturally itrong, and hii 
power of discrimination quiclc. In hit manners, he was eas^ 
and unssauming ; in his habits correct, and in his friendahipi 
conitanL Although fail early education was limited, hia sub- 
sequent inlercourae with the world, united to hia natural 
good sense, enabled him to fill with ability the t arioua offices 
to which he was appointed. 

Few men have exhibited a more honest and perseTering 
ambition to act a worthy part in the community, and few, 
with his advantages, hare been more successful in obtaininf 
the olgect of their ambition. 


MaTTHXT Thoknton was the son of James Thornton, a 
naiire of Ireland, and was horn in that country, about the 
year 1714. When he was two or three years old, his father 
emigrated to America, and after a residence of a few years 
at Wiacasset, in Maine, he removed to Worcester, in Massa- 

Here young Thornton received a respectable academical 
education, and subsequently pursued his medical studies, 
nnder the direction of Doctor Grout, of Leicester. Soon 
after completing bis preparatory course, he removed to Lon- 
donderry,* in New-Hampshire, where he commenced the 
practice of medicine, and soon became distinguished, both as 
a physician and a surgeon. 

In 1746, the well known expedition against Cape Breton 
was planned by Governor Shirley. The co-operation of 
[few-Hampshire being solicited, a corps of five hundred men 
wii raised in the latter province. Dr. Thornton was select- 
ed to aeeompany tbe New-Hampshire troops, as a surgeoib 

IM nW'-iBAanHmi iHWjBUMiiolr. 

His chief Gomnund of this apaditftn ,«ps,.«atfqrt^.t(^ 
Cfdonel Wlliun Pepp«re11. Od Ih^lit of Mar, Iw lii,TCiti|( 
A» tatf of Lomabnrg. LientenaBt '!*-"^"*t' . ^'TgVu.iyi- 
dwtsd the fint columB. throogh th« voodi, t^lUm 4|l>t pt 
I«niibuTg, and nlnted tha city with Hutu Amtm. . A% tbf 
head of a dettehment, chiefly of New-HanpaWte ,tn>opii ha 
nurched ia the nlgfat, to the northeut part of the hariiow^ 
■wbtn thsy bunied the wwehooMi, contaiaiuf the n»*f| 
fltorea, and stared a large quantity of wine and braodj. IHm 
unoke of this fire, bung driven by tiie wind into the gni|)d 
battery, to terrified the French, that, tpiking the gtuu, thigr 
nUred into the dty. 

The next morning, as Colonel VaDgbaa. widi hk auot flfifr 
riating of only thirteen, w«i retiring, be accMemally db> 
oorered that the battery waa deserted. Upon tUa, he tdr^d 
a Caps Cod Indian to creep into an embraiure and opeo the 
gate. Thus he obtained possession of the place, and imm^ 
diately dispatched a meBsenger to the commanding genetsl, 
with the following note : " May it please yonr honour to be 
tnfonned, that, by the grace of God, and the conrage of thir- 
teen men, I entered the royal battery abont nine o'clock, and 
nm watting for a reinforcement and a flag." 

In the mean time, the news of Vanghan's capture of the 
battery being communicated to the French, a hundred men 
were dispatched to retake it ; but the gallant colonel snc- 
eeeded in preventing their design, until rdnforcements nr- 

The capture of Louisburg followed afler a long and peri- 
lous siege. It was here that cannons were drawn by men, 
for fourteen nights, with straps over their ahoulders, frOB 
the landing place through a deep morass, into which they 
snnk, at erery step, up to their knees in mud. 

Few expedmons in the annals of Americaa history, will 
edmpare with this. Louisbnrg was the ** Dunkirk" of Ame- 
rica ; yet it surrendered to the ralour of our troops. It ia 
recorded to the praise of Dr. Thornton, and as an eridenee 
of his professional abilities, that of the corps of fire fanndred 
meni of whom he had charge aa a physician, only dx died of 


I, pnrioiti to the flurreDder of the city, mllhongh they 
were smoDg those who Atisted in dragging the onaoD over 
ifae ■borementioDed mor&M. 

Under the royal government, he was inreated with the o^ 
fiee of justice of the peace, and commiaaioned as colonel of 
the militia. But when the political crisis arrived, when thet 
goremnient in America was dissolved. Colonel Thoroton ah- 
jsred the British interest, and, with a patriotic spirit, adhered 
to the glorions cauee of liberty. In 1775, the royal governor 
was obliged to flee from the province of New-Hampshire* 
A provincial convention was at this time-in session at Exeter, 
lor temporary purposes, of which Colonel Thornton waa 
president In this capacity we find him addressing the in- 
babitaata of the colony of New-Hampahire in the following 

" Frienda and brethren, you must all be sensible thai the 
■Airs of America have, at length, come to a very affecting 
and alarming crisis. The horrors and distresses of a civil 
mr, which, till of late, we only had in contemplation, we 
now find ourselves obliged to realize. Painful beyond ex- 
preanon, have been those acenea of blood and devastatian, 
which the barbarous cruelty of British troops have placed be- 
fore onr eyes. Duty to God, to ourselves, to posteri^, en- 
forced by the cries of slanghtered innocents, have urged na 
to take up arms in onr own defence. Such a day as this was 
iwrer before known, cither to ns or to our fathers. You will 
gire na leave, therefore, in whom you have repoaed special 
confidence, as your representative body, to anggest a few 
things, which call for the serious attention of every one, who 
has the true interest of America at hearL We would, there 
fyn, recommend to the colony at large, to cultivate that 
ehriatian imion, harmony, and tender aflecliun, which is ths 
only fonndalion upon which our invaluable privileges can 
reat with any aecnrity, or our public measures be pursued 
with the least prospect of success." 

After enjoining an inviolable observance of the measures 
ncommended by the congress of 1774, lest they sboidd crosa 
the gtneral plan, he proceeds to recommendt " that the 
T 13 


iBOtt iadiifltrioiii tttention be ptM to the cnlliTitieii of bail 
■nd Aawriatn nBDnfaetiirea, in thieA miogi bnaeha^ a>pa- ^ 
timilj tho linen and woollen, and diat-A« hndModr^ iiii|kt be 
managed with a particular new thereto ; Moordin^, that 
die bnner raise flax, and increase hia floek of iheep to tho en* 
tent of hie aUlltj. 

** We Airther recommend a Mriotu and ateady regard to Iho 
rales of temperance, aobriety, and rig^leonsnees ; aod that 
those laws*which hsTe, heretofore, been our secoiit^ and d^ 
fence from the hand of Tiolence, raa^ still answer all' tiiefr 
former valuable pnrpoaes, thou^ penosa of Tidons and eot- 
rapt minds would willingiy lake advantage from onr prea—t 

*■ In a word, we seriotialy and earnestly reeommmd dw 
practice of that pure and nndefiled religion, which embalaiad 
the memory of our pious ancestora, as that alone upon which 
we can build a solid hope and confidence in the Divine pro- 
tection and favour, without whose blessing all the meaanrea 
of safety we have, or can propose, will end in onr shame and 

The next year he was chosen a delegate to the continental 
congress, and took hia seat on the fourth of November fbt 
lowing. He was, therefore, not a member of that illustrious 
body which planned and published the declaration of inde- 
pendence. This was true, also, of Benjamin Rush, George 
Clymer, James Wilson, George Ross, and George Taylor. 
But all these gentlemen acceding to the declaration, were 
permitted to affix their signatures to the engrossed copy of 
thai instrument. 

During the same year, he was appointed chief justice of 
>he court of common pleas ; and not long after was raised to 
the office of judge of the superior court of New-Hampshire, 
in which office he remuned imtil 1783. In 1780, he pur- 
chased a farm, pleasantly situated on the hanks of the Mer- 
rimack, near Exeter, where, in connexion with his other di- 
versified occupations, he devoted himself to the business of 
agriculture. Although advanced in life, he cheerfully grant- 
ed his professional services, whenever they were required, 


Kitd they were at all times highly appreciated. In the mnni- 
dpal affaire of the town, he took a lively interest Of the 
general conrt he was a member for one or two yean, and a 
senator in the state legislature, and served aa a member of 
the council in 1765, under President Langdou. 

Dr. Thornton was a man of strong powers of mind, and 
on moat subjects to which he directed his attention, was abla 
to elicit light and information. In private life, he was pecu- 
liarly inBtructive and agreeable. The young were delighted 
with bis hilarity and humour. His memory was well stored 
with entertaining and instructive anecdotes, which he waa 
able to apply upon any incident or subject of conversation. 
He often illustrated his sentiments by fable. He delighted 
to amuse a circle of an evening by some fictitious narrative, 
in which he greatly excelled. At such times, placing his 
elbows upon his knees, and supporting his head with his 
hands, he would rivet the attention of his auditors, and as- 
tonish them by his powers of invention. In satire he waa 
scarcely equalled. And though he sometimes employed his 
power immoderately, he was universally beloved, and occo- 
fried a large share of the confidence of his neighbours. A 
single fault of his character should not pass unnoticed. It is 
asserted, that he betrayed some traits of an avaricious dispo- 
rition, and sometimes enforced his rights, when if justice did 
, not require, charity dictated a relinquishment of them. If, 
however, he was severe in his pecuniary claims, be was also 
■trict in the payment of his debts. 

The powers of Dr. Thornton's mind continued unusually 
rigorous to a late period of his life. After he was eighty 
years of age, he wrote political essays for the newspapers, 
■nd about this period of life prepared for the press a meta- 
physical work, comprised in seventy-three manuscript pages 
in quarto, and entitled, " Paradise Lost-, or, the Origin of 
the Evil called Sin, examined ; or how it ever did, or ever 
can come to pass, that a creature should or could do any thing 
nnfit or improper for that creature to do," &.c. This work 
was never published ; but those who have had access to the 
DanuBcript, pronounce it a very singular production. 


It b not ■ little nmuluUo, thkt, kldun^ i -phyMmm, 
ud eonsequenlly oftan cspoMd to Ute wboopinf covgli, Im 
did not lake that disesw until h« bad pusad hia elg^Uedi 
year. Although at thia time enfeebled by yean, be anirirod 
the attack, and eren continued hia medical praetica. 

In atature, Dr. Thornton exceeded six feet in height, but 
he waa remarkably well formed. Hia eomplexian waa daric, 
and hia eyea black and piercing. Hia aapaet waa meon^ 
monly glare, especially for one who waa natnraUy gircn to 
good hnmonr and hilarity. 

Dr. Thornton died while on a visit at Mewboryportt lb» 
■achoaetta, on the !Mlh of June, 1803, in Uia 8(Kh year of hk 
age. In the funeral sennon by Rer. Dr. Bnmap, we an 
fumiabed with the following sketch. *■£(« was TflDerahla 
for hia age, and akill in hia profeaaioni and for the aerenl 
Tery important and honourable offieea he had soslaiiiedt 
noted for the knowledge he had acqniTed, and his qoiek 
penetration into matters of abstruse speculation ; exemplary 
for his regard for the public institutions of religion, and for 
his constancy in attending the public worship, where he trod 
the courts of the house of God, with steps tottering with 
age and infirmity. Such is a brief outline of one who waa 
honoured in his day and generation ; whose virtaes were a 
model for imitation, and while memory does her office, wiD 
be had in grateful recollection.*' 


Stephen Hopkins, 
WiLLUM Ellery. 


Stephen Hopeinb wai a native of tha / art of Providence 
which ii BOW called Scttuste, where he t u bom on the 7th 
of March, 1707. Hia parentage was very respectable, being 
a deseendant of Benedict Arnold, the first governor of Rhode 

His early education was limited, being confined to the in- 
ttnietion imparted in the common schools of the country. 
Yet it U recorded of him, that he excelled in a knowledge of 
penmanship, and in the practical branches of mathematics) 
particularly surveying. 

For several years he followed the profession of a farmer. 
At an early period, he was elected town clerk of Scituate, 
and some time afler wag chosen a representative from that 
town to the general assembly. He waa subsequently ap- 
pointed a justicd of the peace, and a justice of one of the 
courts of common pleas. In 1733, he became chief justice 
of that court. 

In 1742, he disposed of his estate in Scitnate, and removed 
to Providence, where be erected a house, in which he con- 
tinued to reside till his death. In this latter place he entered 
into mercantile business, and was extensively engaged in 
building and fitting out vessels. 


When a representative ironi Scituate. he wag elected 
apeaJier of the house of representatires. To this latter office 
he was again chosen after his remOTal to Proridencc, and 
condnoed to occnpy the station for sereral sncceisire years, 
being a representative from (he latter town. In 1751, he 
was chosen chief justice of the superior court, in which office 
he continued till the year 1754. 

in this latter year he was appointed a commissioner from 
Rhode Island, to the celebrated conrcntion which met at Al- 
bany ; which had for its object the securing; of the friendship 
of the live nations of Indians, in the approaching French war, 
and an union between the several colonies of America. 

In 1756, he was elected chief magistrate of the colony of 
Rhode Island, which office he continued to hold, with but few 
intervals, until the year 1767. In the discharge of the duties 
of this responsible station, he acted with dignity and decision. 
The prosperity of his country lay near hia heart, nor did he 
hesitate to propose and support the measures, which appeared 
the best calculated to promote the interests of the colonies in 
opposition to the encroachments of Bri^sh power. 

At an early period of the difficulties between the coloaiea 
and Great Britain, he took an active and decided part in 
ihvour of the former. In a pamphlet, entitled, " The rigbti 
of colonies examined," he exposed the injustice of the 
stamp act, and various other acts of the British govenunent. 
This pamphlet was published by order of the general assem- 
bly, in 1766. 

The siege of fort William Henry, by the Marquis de Mont- 
calm, 1757, and its enrrender to the force under that general, 
with the subsequent cruel outrages and murders committed 
by the savages of the French army, are too well known to 
need a recital in this place. It is necessary only to state, 
that the greatest excitement prevailed throughout all the colo- 
nies. In this excitement, the inhabitants of Rhode Island 
largely participated. An agreement was entered into by ft 
Tolanteer corps, couched in the following terms : 

" Whereas the British colonies in America are invaded by 
a large army of French and Indian enemies, who have 


already posuased themselTeB of fori William Henry, and are ' 
DOW on their march to penetrate further into the country, and 
from whom we hare nothing to expect, should they succeed 
in ibeir enterprise, but death and deraslatioD; and as his ma- 
jesty's principal officers in the parts invaded, fasTe in the 
most pressing »nd moving manner, culled on &11 his majesty's 
faithful subjects, for assistance to defend the country : — There- 
fore, we, whose names are underwritten, thinking it our duty 
lodoeverythinginourpower, for the defence of our liberiiea, 
fimiliea, and property, are willing, and have agreed to enter 
Toluntarily into the service of our country, and go In a war- 
like manner against the common enemy ; and hereby call up- 
on and invite all our neighbours, who have families and pro- 
perty to defend, to join with us in this undertaking, promising to 
march as soon as we are two hundred and fifty in number, 
recommending ourselves and our cause to the favourable 
protection of Almighty God." 

To this agreement, Mr. Hopkins was the first to affix his 
name, and wos chosen to command the company thus raised, 
whicli consisted of some of the most distinguished men in 
Providence. Preparations for a speedy departure for the 
field of action were made, but on the eve of their march, in- 
telligence arrived, that their services were no longer necessa- 
ry, as the progress of hostilities towards the south was not to 
be expected. 

In 1774, Mr. Hopkins received the appointment of a dele- 
gate from Rhode Island to the celebrated congrcBS, which met 
at Philadelphia that year. In this assembly he took his seat 
on the first day of the BCsaion, where he became one of the 
most zealous advocates of the measures adopted by that illus- 
trious body of men. 

In the year 1775 and 1776, he again represented Rhode 
Island in the continental congress. In this latter year he 
had the honour of affixing his name to the imperishable instru- 
ment, which declared the colonies to be free, sovereign, and 
independent states. He recorded his name with a trcmbhng 
hand, the only instance in which a tremulous hand is visible 
uaong the fifty-six patriots who then wrote their names. But 


' it WBB ID this case only that the fieeh waa weak. Mr. Hop- 
kiiu had for some time been afflicted with a paralytic aflection. 
which compelled liim, when he wrote, to guide hia right huid 
with his lefu The spirit of the man knew no fear, in a caw 
where Ufe and liberty were at hazard. 

In iTTS, Mr. Hopkins was a delegate to congress for the 
last time. But in several subsequent years, he was a member 
of the general assembly of Rhode Island. The last year in 
which he thus served, wag that of 1 779, at which time he was 
seventy-two years of age. 

Mr. Hopkins lived to the I3th of July, 1786, when be 
dosod his long, and honourable and useful life, at the adraa- 
eed age of 7S. His last illness was long, bnt to the period of 
his dissolution, he retained the full possession of his faculties. 
A vast assemblage of persons, consisting of judges of the 
courts, the president, professors and students of the college, 
together with the citizens of the town, and inhabitants of the 
state, followed the remains of this eminent man to his resting 
place in the grave. 

Although the early education of Mr. Hopkins was limited, 
as has already been observed, the vigour of his understanding 
enabled him to surmount his early deficiencies, and an 
assiduous application to the pursuit of knowledge, at length, 
placed him among the distinguished literary characters of the 
day. He delighted in lileraturc and science. He was atteu' 
tive to books, and a close observer of mankind ; thus he went 
on improving, until the period of his death. As a public 
speaker, he was always clear, precise, pertinent, and pow- 

As a mathematician, Mr. Hopkins greatly excelled. Till 
in advanced age, he was extensively employed in surveying 
lands. He was distinguished for great exactness in his calcu- 
btions, and an unusual knowledge of his business. 

As a statesman and a patriot, he was not less distinguished. 
He was well instructed in the science of politics; had an eXf 
tensive knowledge of the rights of his country, and proved 
himself, through a longer life than falls to the lot of most men, 
sn unshaken friend of his country, and an enemy to civil and 


ffcUfioiM intolennce. He went to his gnre hoaonred u & 
■kilAil legislator, s righteous judge, an able repreaentatirei » 
dignified and upright goreruor. Charity was an inmate of Iiii 
iMdritation. To the cry of Buffering his ear waa ever open, 
■aJ in the relief of affliction he erer delighted. 


William Ellkbt, the son of a gentleman of the aame 
aniM, was bora at Newport, on the 23d day of December, 
1TO7. His ancestors were originally from Bristol, in £ng- 
hnd, whence (hey emigrated to America during the latter 
part of the seveatoenth century, and took up their residence 
It Newport, in Rhode Island. 

The early education of the subject of this memoir, was 
receired almost exclusively from his father, who was a gra- 
doate of Harvard university ; and who although extensively 
engaged in mercantile pursuits, found leisure personally to 
cultivate the mind of his son. At tlie age of sixteen, he wa.i 
ijualified for admission to the university, of which his father 
had been a member before him. In his twentieth year, he 
left the university, having sustained, during his collegiate 
coune, the character of a faithful nnd devoted student. In a 
knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages, he is said to 
have parliculariy excelled, and through the whole bustle of 
hi* active life, until the very hour of dissolution, he retained 
hia fondness for them. 

On his return to Newport, he commenced the study of the 
law, and after (he usual preparatory course, he entered upon 
the practice, which for twenty years he pursued with great 
zeal. During ihix period, no other particulars have been re- 
eorded of him, than that he succeeded in acquiring a compe* 
tent fortune, and receiving the esteem and confidence of his 
fellow citizens. 



At an early period of the controreray betireen Great Bii* 
tain and the coloniei, Rhode Island Blrongly enlisted heraelf 
in the patrio^c cause. She wag not backward in expresring 
her disapprobation of the arbitrary raeasurea of the parent 
country. Indeed, it ia doubtful whether Rhode Island is not 
equally entitled, with Virginia and MsBsachusetta, to the h(^ 
nour which they claim) of being earliest in the measures lead- 
ing to the revolution. Among the great scenes which led the 
way to actnal resistance, two occurred in Narraganeet bay. 
The first of these was an attack by the people of Rhode 1^- 
ind, upon the armed revenue sloop, Liberty, in the harbonr 
of Newport, June 17th, 1769. The second was the memora- 
ble affair of the Gaspee, June Oth, 1772, and in which it may 
be said, was shed the first blood in the revolution. This lat- 
ter occurrence excited an unusual alarm among the royal 
party in the provinces, and gave occasion to Governor Huld^ 
inson to address the following letter to Commodore Gambler : 
" Our last ships carried you the news of the burning of Uie 
Gaspec schooner, at Providence. I hope, if there should be 
another like attempt, some concerned in it may be taken 
prisoners, and carried directly to England. A few punished 
at execution dock, would be the only effectual preventive of 
tny further attempts." 

By other acts did the people of Rhode Island, at an early 
period, evince their opposition to the royal government. On 
the arrival in the year 1774 of the royal proclamation pro- 
hibiling the importation of fire arms Irom England, they dis- 
mantled the fort at Newport, and took possession of forty 
pieces of cannon. Again, on the occurrence of the battle of 
Lexington, they simultaneously roused to the defence of their 
fellow citizens, in the province of Massachusetts. Within 
three days after that memorable event, a large number of her 
militia were in the neighbourhood of Boston, ready to co- 
operate in measures cither of hosti)ity or defence. In the 
-same year she sent twelve hundred regular troops into the 
■ervice,and afterwardsfumishcd three stale regiments to serve 
dnring the war. 

No sooner wai the formation of a continental eongieat raf 


pi fed, thmn Rhode lalsnd took measures to be represented in 
l^t body, and elected as delegates two of her most diitin* 
(uiihed dtizetu, GoTerDor Hopkins and Mr. Ward. 

During these moTenients in Rhode Island, Mr. Ellery, 
ihe subject of this notice, was hy no means an idle spectator. 
The pariicolar history of the part which he took in these 
Inawctiona ia, indeed, not recorded ; but the tradition is, that 
be mm not tiehind his contemporaries either in spirit or action. 
Id the election for delegates to the congress of 1T76, Mr. 
Ellery was a successful candidate, and in that body took hif 
■eat, on the SBventeenth of May. Herei he soon became a,r 
utiTe and influential member, and rendered important ser 
rices to his coimtry, by his indefatigable attention to duties 
unpied him, on several committees. During this session, 
be had the honour of afSxing his name to the declaradon of 
independence. Of this transaction he frequently spoke, and 
of the notice he look of the members of congress when they 
Hgned that instrument. He placed himself beside secretary 
Thompson, thai he might see how they looked, aa they put their 
names to their death warrant. But while all appeared to 
feel the solemnity of the occasion, and iheir countenances 
bespoke their awe, it was vnmingled with fear. They re- 
corded their names as patriots, who were ready, should occa- 
sion require, to lead the icay to martyrdom. 

In the year 1777, tlic marine committee of congress, of 
which Mr. Ellery was s member, recommended the plan, and 
it is supposed, at his suggestion, of preparing fire ships, and 
sHiding them out from the state of Rhode Island. Of this 
plan, the journals of congress speak in the following terms : 
" If upon due consideration, jointly had by the nayy board 
for the eastern department, and the governor and council of 
war for the slate of Rhodclsland, and for which purpose the 
uid navy board are directed to attend upon the said gover- 
Dor snd council of war, the preparing fire ships be judged 
practicable, expedient, and advisable, the said navy board im- 
mediately purchase, upon as reosonable terms as possible, 
six ships, or square rigged vessels, at Providence, in the state 
of Rhode Island and Providence Flantations, the best caicu- 


Uted for fire ships, with all possible expedition ; that the nid 
aavj board provide proper msteriali for the sunei and employ^ 
a proper captain or commander, one lieutenant, and a snitaUa 
number of men for each of the said ships, or vessels, of ap- 
proved courage and pradence ; and that notice be ffr&i to all 
the commanders of the continental ships and ressels in the 
port of Providence, to be in readiness to sail at a momenta 
warning : that as soon as the said fire ships are well prepared, 
the first favourable wind be embraced to attack the British 
ships and nary in the rivers and baj>B of the state of Rhode Isl- 
and and Providence Plantations : that the officers of the conti- 
nental navy there, favour, as much as possible, the design, and 
use their utmost eflbrts to get out to sea, and proceed to such 
cruiae, or to such ports, aa the said nary board, or the marine 
committee, shall appoint or order." 

During the year that the British army under General Fig- 
got took possession of Newport, where they fortified them- 
selves, and continued their head quarters for some lime, 
tlie inhabitants sustained much injury in their proper^. Hr> 
Ellery shared in the common loss, his dwelling bouse being 
burned, and other destruction of property occasioned. 

Mr. Ellery continued a member of congress until the jeMt 
ITB5, and indeed, through that year, when he retired to hia 
native state. Soon after, however, he was elected by con- 
gress, a commissioner of the continental loan office, to whidi 
was subsequently added, by the citizens of Rhode Island, the 
office of chief justice of their superior court, a station which 
he did not continue to hold long. On the organizatian of the 
federal goverument, he received from General Washington 
the appointment of collector of the customs for the town of 
Newport, an office which he retained during the remainder of 
his life. 

On the l&th of February, 1620, this venerable man — rene> 
lable for hia age, which had been prolonged to ninety-two 
years, and venerable for the serrices which he had rendered 
his country, was summoned to his account. His death was 
in unison with hia iife. He wasted gradually and almost im- 
perceptibly, until the powers of nature wore litBiailjr wcnn 


Mbjrtue. On the day on which his deaih occurred, he hail 
rigea, u mual, and rested in hie old flag bottomed chair, the 
relict of half a century ; he bad employed liimself in reading 
rnlly'e officea in Latin. 

While Ihus engaged, bis family phyBician called to see him. 
On feeliDg bit pulMt be found that it bad ceased to beat. A 
dmnght of wine and water quickened it into life, howcTeri 
■gain, and being placed and supported on the bed, he continu- 
cd reading, «n(t7 the lamp of life, in a moment of which At* 
friendt vere ignorant, loaa extinguished. 
"Of no dialamper, tdno blast be died, 
But Icll like MitmnD fruit that moUowed lon^. 

Fata (eeni'd lo wind biin up (or (buracure yean, 
TM (rMhly no b«aa twelve vintenmorc: 
Till, like a clock worn out witb eating tioM^ 
Hw wheek of weary lib at laM flood MilL" 

In the character of Mr. Ellery there was much to admire. He 
Iras, indeed, thongbtby some to hare been too tenacious of his 
opinion, and not always free from asperity to others. But 
years niellowed down these unpleasant traits of his cha- 
racter, and showed that he had exercised a wntchfulncss over 
himself, not entirely in vain. He manifested an uncoramon 
diaregen) of the applause of men. It was often upon his 
lipa : " humility rather than pride becomes such creatures as 
we are." He loolied upon the world and its convulsions with 
religious serenity, and in times of public danger, and of public 
difficulty, he comforted himself and others, with the pious re* 
flection of the psalmist, " The Lord reigneth." 

In conversation, Mr. Ellery was at once interesting and in> 
itnietiTe. His advice was often sought, and his opinions re* 
girded with great reverence. In letter writing he excelled, 
u he did in fine penmanship, which latter would be inferred 
from his signature to the declaration of independence. In 
itature, be was of middling height, and carried in bis person 
the indications of a sound frame ^nd an easy mind. In the 
Coortesies of life, he kept pace with the improvements of the 
age; but his conversation, and dress, and habits of life, plainly 
■htnred that he belonged to a more primitive generation. 



William Willi a», 
Olitkr Wolcott. 


Roger Sherman, the subject of the present memoir, i 
a natiTe of Newton, Massachusetta, where he was bom 
the 19lh of April, 1121. His ancestors were from Dedhi 
in England, whence they removed to America about the y 
1635, and settled at Watertown in the same state. 1 
Isther of Mr. Sherman, whose name was William, wa 
respectable farmer, but from his moderate circumstances ' 
unable to gire his son the advantages of an education, 
jond those which were furnished by a parochial school. 

He was early apprenticed to a shoemaker, which occv 
tion he followed for some time after he was twenty-two y* 
of age. It is recorded of him, however, that he ei 
evinced an uncommon thirst for knowledge, and was wi 
even while at work on his seat, to have a book open bel 
him, upon which he would employ every moment, not 
cessarily devoted to the duties of his calling. 

The father of Mr. Sherman died in the year 1741, lea* 
his family, which was quite numerous, in circumstances 
depoidsiice. The care of the fomily derolved upon Roj 


Ilia older brolher luring lonietime before remored to Nev- 
MUfonl, in Connectient. Tbia wu a aeriona charge for & 
young man only nineteen yean of age. Yet, with great 
kindneaa and cheerfnlnesB did he engage in the duties which 
derolrcd upoo him. Towards hia mother, whose life was 
protracted to a great age, he continued to manifeat the ten- 
iierest afiecUon, and assisted two of his younger brothers to 
obtain a liberal education. Theae, afterwards, became clergy- 
men of aome distinction in Connec^cuL 

It has already been observed, that an older brother had 
eetabliabed himself in New-MUford, ConnecticuL In 1743, 
it was judged expedient for the family, alao, to remove to 
that place. Accordingly, having disposed of their small 
farm, they became reaidents of New>Mi)ford, in June of that 
year. This journey was performed by young Roger on foot, 
with his tools on his baek. 

At New-Milford, he commenced business as a shoemaker ; 
but not long after he relinquished his trade, having entered 
into partnership with his older brother, in the more agree- 
able occupation of a country merchant. 

Mr. Sherman early evinced, as has already been observed, 
so unusual thirst for knowledge. This led him to seize with 
avidity every opportunity to acquire it. The acquisiliona 
of such a mind, even with the disadvantages under which he 
laboured, must have been comparatively easy, and his im- 
provement was mpid. The variety and extent of his attain* 
Dieats, even at this early age, are almost incredible. He noon 
became known in the county of Litchfield, where he resided, 
IS a man of more than ordinary talents, and of unusual skill 
in the science of mathematics. In 1745, only two years 
ifter his removal into the above county, and at the age of 
twenty-four, he was appointed to the office of county sur- 
veyor. At Ibis time it appears, alao, he had made no small 
advance in the science of astronomy. As early as 1748, ho 
lupplied the astronomical calculations for an almanac, pub- 
lished in the city of New-York, and continued this supply 
f=r several succeeding years. 
In 1749, he waa marriefl to Miss Elizabeth Hartwell, of 


'Stonghton. in MaesBchuBetti. After her decckM, in 1760, ha 
fflarried Misi Rebecca PrCBCOt, of Danren, in the same aute. 
By lhea« wires he had fifteen children, aeren bf the fonnert 
and eight by the latter. 

In 1TC4, Mr. Sherman was admitted as an attorney to the 
bar. It is a trite remark, that great effects often proceed from 
small causes, and that not unfrequently some apparently 
tririal occurrence, exercises a eontroHng influence orer tha 
whole after life of an individual. Both these remarks are 
eminently verilied in the history of Mr. Sherman. While 
yet a yonng man, and, it is believed before he had relinquish- 
ed his mechanical occupation, he had occasion to go to a 
neighbouring town to transact some bnsiness for himselil A 
short time previous to this, a neighbour of his, in settling the 
affairs of a person deceased, became involved in a difficulty 
which required the assistance of legal counsel. The neigh- 
hour stated the case to young Sherman, and authorized him 
to seek the advice of the lawyer of the town to which he 
was going. 

As the subject was not without intricacy, Sherman com' 
mitted the case to paper, and on his arrival in the town, pro- 
ceeded with his manuscript to the lawyer's office. In slating 
the case to the lawyer, he had frequent occasion to recur to 
his manuscript This was noticed by the lawyer, and, as it 
was necessary to present a petition in the case to some court, 
Sherman was requested to leave the paper, as an assistance 
in framing the petition. The modesty of young Sherman 
would scarcely permit him to comply with this request 
** The paper," he said, " was only a memorandum drawn by 
himself to asaiat his memory." He gave it, however, into 
the l^anda of the lawyer, who read it with surprise. He 
found it to contain a clear statement of the case, and remark- 
ed, that with some slight verbal alterations, it would be equal 
to any petition which he himself could draft. 

The conversation now passed to the situation and circum- 
stances of young Sherman. The lawyer urged him seriously 
to think upon the profession of law. At thia time, he was 
deeply isTolred in the care of his father's family, which, ■■ 

nOOIft SHEBMAK. 161 

before noticed, were left in a great measure destitute at hU 
deeease. The suggestion, however, appears not to have 
been lost upon him. A new direction was given to hia 
ihonghts. A stronger impulse was added to bin energiea. 
Hia leisure houra were deroted to the acqaidtion of legal 
knowledge, and in I1&4, as already remarked, he entered 
upon a professional career, in which few have attained (o 
greater honour and distinction. 

From this date, Mr. Sherman Boon became distinguished 
ts a jodiciouB connaellor, and was rapidly promoted to offices 
of trust and responsibility. The year following his admig- 
■ion to the bar, he was appointed a justice of the peace for 
New-Milford, which town he also represented the same year 
in the colonial assembly. In ITSQ, he was appointed Judge 
of the court of common pleas for the county of Litchfield, 
an office which he filled with great reputation for tlie two 
following years. 

At the expiration of this time, that is In 1761, he became 
a resident of New-Haven, of which town he was soon after 
appointed a justice of the peace, and oflen represented it in 
the colonial assembly. To these offices was added, in 1765, 
that of judge of the court of common pleas. About the 
same time he was appointed treasurer of Yale College, which 
institution bestowed upon him the honorary degree of Master 
of Arts. 

In 1766, he was elected by the freemen of the colony a 
member of the upper house, in the general assembly of Con- 
Decticut. The members of the upper bouse were called 
ataistants. This body held their deliberations with closed 
doors. The precise rank, therefore, which Mr. Sherman 
held among his colleagues, or the serrices which he rendered 
his country, cannot now be ascertained. Few men, however, 
vere better fitted for a deliberative assembly. During the 
Bame year, the confidence of his fellow-citizens was still far- 
ther expressed, by his appointment to (he office of Judge of 
(he superior courL The offices, (hug conferred upon him, 
during the same year, were not then considered as incompa- 
tible. He continued a member of the upper house for mne* 


Wea yeun, until 1T85, at which tima tha two offices which 
he held being coDsidered u incompatible, ha relinquished 
his seat at the council board, preferring his station aa a judge. 
This latter office he continued to exercise until 17S9, when 
he resigned it, on being elected to congress under tha federal 

At an early stage of the controversy between Great Britain 
and her American colonies, Mr. Sherman warmly espoused 
the cause of his country. This was to be expected of hint. 
A man of so much integrity and consistency of character, ol 
such firmness and solidity, would not be likely to be wanting 
in the day of trial. It waa fortunate for America that she 
had some euch men in her councils, to balance and keep in 
check the feverish epirits which, in their zeal, might have in- 
jured, rather than benefitted the cause. Mr. Sherman waa 
no enthusiast, nor was he to be seduced from the path of duty 
by motives of worldly ambition, or love of applause. He 
early perceived, that the rontest would have to be terminated 
by a resort to arms. Hence, he felt the paramount import- 
ance of union among the colonies. He felt the full force of 
the sentiment, *' United we stand, divided we fell." Prom 
the jusUce or clemency of Great Britain, he expected no- 
thing; nor, at an early day, could he perceive any rational 
ground to hope that the contest could be settled, but by the 
entire separation of American and British interests. He was, 
therefore, prepared to proceed, not rash.y. but with delibe- 
rate firmness, and to resist, even unto blood, the unrighteous 
attempts of the British parliament to enthral and enslave the 
American colonies. 

Of the celebrated congress of 1774, Mr. German was a 
conspicuous member. He was present at the opening of 
the session; and continued uninterruptedly a member o^ that 
body for the long space of nineteen years, until his death 
in 1703. 

Of the important services which he rendered his country, 
during his congressional career, it is difficult and even impos- 
sible to form an estimate. He served on various conunitte^s, 
whose deliberationa often involved the highest interest of the 


epnntry. During the continuance of the war of the revolu- 
tion, the duties of committees were frequently arduous and 
fiitiguing. No man adventured upon these duties with more 
courage ; no one exercised a more indefatigable zeal than did 
Mr. Sherman. He investigated every subject with uncom- 
mon particularity, and formed his judgment with a compre- 
hensive view of the whole. This, together with the well 
known integrity of his character, attracted universal confi- 
dence. He naturally became, therefore, one of the leading 
and most influential members of congress, during the whole 
period of his holding a seat in that body. 

Of the congress of 1775, Mr. Sherman was again a mem- 
oer ; but of this day of clouds and darkness, when the storm 
which had long lowered, began to burst forth on every side, 
we can take no further notice than to mention, with gratitude 
and admiration, the firmness of those assembled sages who, 
with courage, breasted themselves to the coming shock. 
They calm]y and fearlessly applied themselves to the defence 
of the liberties of their country, having counted the cost, 
and being prepared to surrender their rights only with their 

In the congress of 1776, Mr. Sherman took a distinguished 
part. He assisted on committees appointed to give instruc- 
tions for the military operations of the army in Canada ; to 
establish regulations and restrictions on the trade of the 
United States ; to regulate the currency of the country ; to 
furnish supplies for the army ; to provide for the expenses of 
the government ; to prepare articles of confederation between 
the several states, and to propose a plan of military opera- 
tions for the campaign of 1776. 

During this year, also, he received the most flattering tes- 
timony of the high estimation in which he was held by con- 
gress, in being associated with Adams, Jeflerson, Franklin, 
and Livingston, in the responsible duty of preparing the de- 
claration of independence. 

The reputation of Mr. Sherman abroad, was cordially re- 
ciprocated in the state in which he resided. Few men were 
ever more highly esteemed in Connecticut. The people un- 


deretood his worth. Thej' mpected him for hia ftlnlitica. 
but still more for his unbending integrity. During the w&r 
be belonged to the goremor'a council of utfety ; and from the 
year 1784 to his death, he held the may oral^ of the city of 
New-Haven. In 1783, he wu appointed, with the honoura- 
ble Richard Law, both of whom were at this time judges of 
the superior court, to revise the statutes of the state. This 
service, rendered doubly onerous to the committee from their 
being instructed to digest all the siatntes relating to the same 
subject into one, and (o reduce the whole to alphabetical or- 
der, was performed with great ability. Many useless statutes 
were omitted ; others were altered to correspond to the great 
changes which had then recently taken place in the state of 
the country, and the whole reduced to comparative ordei 
and simplicity. 

Another expression of the public confidence awaited Mr 
Sherman in 1787. Soon after the close of the war, the in 
efficacy of the old confederation between the states was op 
parent. The necessity of a federal constitution, by which 
the powers of the slate governments and of the general go 
vemment should be more nicely balanced, became every 
day more obvious. Accordingly, in 1787, a general conven 
tion of the suites, for forming a new constitution, was called, 
and Mr- Sherman, in connexion with the learned Mr. Ells- 
worth and Dr. Johnson, were appointed to attend it, on the 
part of Connecticut. In this assemblage of patriots, distin- 
guished for their political wisdom, Mr. Sherman was con- 
spicuous, and contributed, in no small degree, to (he perfec- 
tion of that conatituiion, under whicli the people of America 
have for more than forty years enjoyed as much civil liberty 
and political prosperity as is, probably, compatible with the 
lapsed condition of the human race. Many of the conven- 
tion, who warmly advocated the adoption of the constitution, 
were not, indeed, well pleased with every feature of that in- 
strument. To this number Mr. Sherman belonged. He waa 
of the opinion, however, as were others, that it was the best 
which, under existing circumstances, the convention could 
Have fiunad. Oo hii return to Connecticut, when the que*-. 

tion reflpecling the sdopdon of the eonaUtntion came befora 
tae convention of that atate, ita adoption, according to ifae 
teatiraony of the late Chief Jnatice Elliwartfa, was, in no 
■maU degree, owing to the influence of Mr. Sherman. On 
that occasion, he appeared before the convention, and, with 
great plainness and penpicnity, entered into an explanation 
of the probable operation of the principle! of the conatitudon. 

Under this new conilitution, he was elected a representa- 
tive to congress from the state of ConnecticDt. At the ex- 
pimtion of two years, a vacancy occurring in the senate, he 
was elevated to a seal in that body, an office which he con- 
tinned to hold, and the duties of which he continued to dis- 
diarge with honour and reputatioD to himsetl^ and with great 
usefulness to his country, imtil the 23d day of July, 1703, 
when he was gathered to his fathers, in the 73d year of hii 

In estimating the character of Mr. Sherman, we must 
dwell a moment upon Ms practical wisdom This, in him, 
was a predominant trait. He possessed, more than most 
men, an intimate acquaiatance with human nature. He un* 
derstood the springs of human action in a remarkable d»- 
grce, nnd well knew in what manner to touch them, to pro- 
duce ft designed effect. This practical wisdom, another name 
for coinman sense, powerfully contributed to guide him to 
tafe results, on all the great political questions in which he 
vss concerned , and aasislod him to select the means which 
vere best adapted to accomplish the best ends. With the 
habits nnd opinions, with the virtues and vices, the prejudices 
md weaknesses of his countrymen, he was also well ac- 
quainted. Hence, he understood, better than many others, 
who were superior to him in the rapidity of their genius, 
what laws and principles they would bear, and what they 
irotild not bear, in government. Of the practical wisdom of 
Mr. Sherman, we might furnish many honourable testimonies 
and numerous illustrations. We must content ourselves, 
nowever, with recording a remark of President Jefferson, to 
the late Dr. Spring, of Newburyport. During the sitting of 
Congress at Philadelphia, the latter gentleman, in companv m 


with Hr. Jefferson, vuited the national halL Mr. JeSenoB 
pointed ont to ttie doctor leveral of lh« memben, who were 
moat conspicoouB. At length) his eye rested npon Roger 
Sherman. "That," said he, pointing his finger, "is Mr 
Sherman of Connecticut, a man who never said a fooliah 
thing in h4s life" Not less compliinentaTy was the remarli 
of Mr. Macon, the aged and distinguished senator, who has 
recently retired from public life : " Roger Sherman had more 
common sense than any man I ever knew." 

Another diatinguishing trait in the character of Roger 
ShermftD. was his unbending integrity. No man, probably, 
ever stood more aloof from the suspicion of a selfish bias, 
or of sinister motives. In both his public and private con- 
duct, he was actuated by principle. The opinion which'ap- 
peared correct, he adopted, and the measure which appeared 
the best, he pursued, sppsrently uninfluenced by passion, pre- 
iudice, or interest. It was probably owing to this trait in 
his character, that he enjoyed such extraordinary influence 
in (hose deliberative bodies of wliich he was a member. In 
his speech, he was slow and hesitating. He had few of the 
graces of oratory ; yet no man was heard with deeper atten- 
tion. This attention arose from the solid conviction of the 
hearers, that he was an honest man. What he said, waa in- 
deed always applicable to the point, was clear, was weighty; 
and, as the late President Dwight remarked, was generally 
new and important. Yet the weight of his observations, 
obviously, sprung from the integrity of the man. It was this 
trait in his character, which elicited the observation of the 
distinguished Fisher Ames. "If I am absent," said he, "dur- 
ing the discussion of a subject, and consequently know not 
on which side to vote, I always look at Roger Sherm.''n, for 
I am sure if I vote with Aim / shall vote right,'' 

To the above excellent traits in the charactei- of Mr. Sher 
man, it may be added, (hat he waa eminently a pious iDan 
He was long a professor of religion, and one of its bnghtee' 
ornaments. Nor was his religion that which appeared only 
on occasions. It was with him a principle and a habiL It 
appeared in the closet, in the &mily, on the bench, and in the 


•nute hoow. Vew men had « higher Tererence for the 
bible ; few men studied it with deeper attention ; few were 
more intimately acquainted witb the doctrmes of the goapel, 
■nd the metaphysical coDtrovereies of the day. On theis 
subjects, he maintained an extended correspondence with 
some of the most distinguished divines of that period, amonjt 
whom were Dr. Edw&rds, Dr. Hopkins, Dr. Trumbull, Presi- 
dent Dickenson, and President Witherspoon, all of whom 
had ■ high opinion x>f him es a theologian, and derired much 
instraclion from their correspondence with him. 

If the character of a man's religion is to be tested by the 
frnita it produces, the religion of Mr. Sherman must be ad- 
mitted to have been not of thb world. He was naturally 
possessed of strong pasmons ; but over these he at length 
obtaioed an extraordinary control. Ho became habitually 
calm, sedate, and self-possessed. The following instance of 
his self-possession is worthy of being recorded. 

Mr. Sherman was one of those men who arc not ashamea 
to maintain the forms of religion in his family. One morn- 
ing he called them together, as usual, to lead them in prayer 
to God : the " old family bible" wag brought out, and laid on 
the table. Mr. Sherman took his scat, and beside him placoo 
one of hia children, a small child, a child of his old age ; the 
rest of the family were seated round the room ; several of 
these were now grown up. Besides these, some of the tulors 
of the college, and it is believed, some of tlie gtudcnis, were 
boarders in the family, and were present at the time alluded 
to. His aged, and now superanuated mother, occupied a 
comer of the room, opposite to the place where Uie distin- 
guished judge of Connecticut sal. At length he opened the 
Uble, and began to read. The child which was seated bcsitlc 
him, made some little diaturbsnce, upon which Mr. Sherman 
paused, and told it to be still. Again he proceeded, but again 
he paused, to reprimand tlie little offender, whose playful 
disposition would scarcely permit it to be still. At tliis time, 
he gently tapped its ear. The blow, if it might be called a 
blow, caught the attention of his aged mother, who now ujih 
some effort rose from her seat, and tottered across the romn. 


At length, she reached the chair of Mr. Sherman, and in « 
moment moit unexpected to him, she gave him a blow on 
th« ear, with all the power she could summon. " 3Vre," sud 
ihe, " you strike your child, and I loiU strike nine." 

For a moment, the blood was seen rushing to the &ce of 
Mr. Sherman ; but it was only for a moment, when all waa 
as mild and calm as usual. He paused — he raised his specta- 
cles — he cast his eye upon his mother — again it fell upon the 
book, from which he bad been reading. Perhaps be re- 
tnemberetl the injunction, " honour thy mother," and he did 
honour her. Not s word escoped him ; but again he calmly 
pursued the service, and soon after sought in prayer abili^ to 
set an example before his household, which should be worthy 
their imitation. 8uch self-posaession is rare. Bnch a victory 
was worth more than the proudest victory ever achieved in 
the field of battle. 

We have room only to add the inscription, which is record- 
ed upon Ihe tablet which covers the tomb of this truly excel- 
lent man : 

Mayor of Ihe city of Ncw-Havoi, 

■nd Senator of the United States. 

II« waa bom at Newton, in MaaBachmctt^ 

April 19th, 1721, 

And died in New-Haven, July 23d, A, D. 1793^ 

ngcA LXXll. 

PoMeaed of a strong, clear, penetrating mltid, 

and lingMlar pcncverance, 

he became the •elf-taug'hl scholar, 

CEnincDl for juruprudence and policy. 

He WBJ nineteen years an assutajjt, 

and twenty-three yeara ajudge of the Buperior eonit, 

in hi^h reputation. 

He was a Delegate in the Grst Congreas, 

ngoed the g-lorious act of Independence, 

and many years displayed ■uperior talents and abtUlj 

fu the natit»ial legiilature. 

He was ■ member of the giincral convEntioi^ 

approved the federal constitution, 

■Md Id Um SauOe of tbe Unitoa SUtef. 

Ha VI* a man of (pprovcd iUUfiUcj i 

B cool, diacernin^ Judge ; 

m prudent, lagacioiu PoUtician; 

& trae, fidthAil, and finn Patriot. 

He ever ■domed 

tba pTOfanon of cfatliUaDit; 

which he mute in youth ; 

•Dd diatiDguiabed through Hit 

(orpoblii: uBefulDCa, 

diad In the proqiect of ■ bleied immortality. 


Savubl Huntinoton ms born in Windham, Connecticut, 
on the 3d day of July, 1732. His ancestors were respect- 
able ; tliey came to America at an early period of the country, 
and settled in Connecticut. 

The father of the subject of the present memoir wu 
Nathaniel Huntington, who reaided in the town of Windham, 
where he was a plain but worthy farmer. His mother wu 
distinguished for her many virtues. She was a piona, dis- 
creet woman, and endued with a more than ordinary share 
of mental vigour. A numerous family of children cemented 
the affection of this worthy pair. Several of the sons devoted 
themselves to the gospel ministry, and attained to a highly 
respectable standing in their profession. Of those who thus 
devoted themselves (o the clerical profession, Dr. Joseph 
Huntington was one. He is well known as the author of • 
posthumous work, on universal salvalian. It was entitled, 
"Calvinism Improved, or the Gospel illustrated as a system 
of real Grace, issuing in the salvation of all men." This 
Work was afterwards ably answered by Dr. Nathan Strong. 
of Hartford. 

In the benefit! of a pubhc edncation, which wen that etn 

'f IB ■- ■■- , 


ferred on sevenl of hii brothers, Samuel Hiintinj[ton did not 
abare. He tu the eldest soiit and Mb &ther needed faia «■• 
■istsnce on the form. Indeed, his opportunitiea for obtaining 
knowledge were extremely limited, not extending beyond 
those furnished by the common schools of that day. 

Mr. Huntington, howeTer, possessed a Tigorous under- 
standing, and, when released from the toils of the field, he 
devoted himself with great assiduity to reading and study. 
Thus, the deficiencies of the common school were more thai- 
supplied. He became possessed of an extensire fund of in 
formation upon various subjects, and by the time he wis 
twenty-one years of age, he probably fell little short in his 
acquisitions of those who had received a collegiate edura- 
tion, except in some particular branches. His knowledge 
was less scientific, but more practical and useful. 

Although not averse to husbandry, he early manifested a 
fondness for legal pursuits, and at the age of twenty-two he 
relinquished the labours of the field, for the more agreeable 
study of the law. Pecuniary circumstances prevented hk 
arsiling himself of legal tuition in the office of a lawyer. 
But he was contented to explore the labyrinths of die pro- 
~ fession unaided, except by his own jiydgmenL The library 
of a respectable lawyer in a neighbouring town, furnished 
him with the necessary books, and his diligence and perse- 
verance accomplished the rest 

Mr. Huntington soon obtained a competent knowledge of 
the principles of law, to commence the practice of the pro- 
fession. He opened an office in his native town, but in 1760^ 
removed to Norwich, where a wider field presented itself 
for the exercise of his talents. Here, he soon becsine emi- 
nent in his profession. He was distinguished by a strict 
integrity, and no man exceeded him in punctnality. These 
traits of character, united to no ordinary legal attainments, 
and strosg rommon sense, insured him the respect of the 
community, and a large share of professional business. 

In 1764, Mr. Huntington represented the town of Nor- 
wich in the general assembly. This was the conuneneameDl 
of hii poBtieal career. In the year following he ma wf 


printed to tk« oflce of king't *t\tmef, tba dntiaa of whiek 
he eoniiniMd to diachsrgei irith greal fidelily, fiw Mrenl 
yean. In IT74, hs baeune an uaodate judge in Ao supo- 
rior eonrt, ud aoon kfier an asnatant in tho conndl of Con- 

Mr. Himtington wmi unoDg those who early and atrongly 
set ttaemaelTeg in oppondon to the claims and oppreiiiona of 
the Bri^ah pariiament In hia'opiniona on naUonal aubjeela, 
he wna eminently independent; nor was he backward in 
expreenof those opinions, on every suitable occasion. His 
talenta and pabriodam recommended him to pubUe bTour, and 
in October, 1775. he was appointed by the general assembly of 
Connecticut to represent that colony in the continental con- 
gress. In the January following, in conjnnction with hit dis- 
tingniafaed coUeagves, Roger Sherman, OliTer Woleott, dee. 
he took his seat in that venerable body. In the sulneqnent 
Jnly he voted in favour ofthe declaration of independence. 

Of the continental congress, Mr. Huntington cooiinued a 
member nnlU the year I7SI, when the ill state of his health 
reqnired the relinquishment of the ardnons services in which 
he had been engaged for several years. Theae services had 
been rendered still more onerous by an appointment, in 177^ 
to the presidency of the congress, in which station he sue* 
ceeded Mr. Jay, on the appointment of the latter as minister 
plenipotentiary to the court of Madrid. The honourable sta- 
tion of president, Mr. Huntington filled with great dignity 
tnd distinguished ability. " In testimony of their approba- 
tion of his conduct in the chair, and in the execntian of public 
bnsiness," congress, soon af\er his retirement, accorded to 
bim the expression of their public thanks. 

Thns relieved from the toils which his high official station 
in congress had imposed upon him, Mr. Huntington was soon 
able to resume his judicial functions in the superior court of 
Connecticut, and hia duties as an assistant in the council of 
that state, both of which offices had been kept vacant during 
hia absence. 

Tbe pnblic, however, were unwilling long to dispense with 
hii aerviees in Ifac great national assembly. Accoidingiyi !■ 

114 coHMicnauT dklicatiom. 

rendered ■errices to his country, which will long be remem- 
bered with gratitude ; he &ttaiifed to honoun with which « 
high ambition might have been ntisfied ; nnd, at length, went 
down to Uie grave, cheered with the protpect of ■ luppy im- 


The family of William Williams is said to hare been 
originally from Wales. A branch of it came to America in 
the year 1630, and settled in Roxbury, HaBsachuaetts. His 
grandfather, who bore the eame name, was the minister of 
Hatfield, MasaachuBetts ; and hia father, Solomon Williams, 
D. D. was the minister of a parish in Lebanon, where he was 
settled fifty-four years. Solomon Willisma, the father, mar 
ried a daughter of Colonel Porter, of Hadley, by whom ha 
had five aona and three daughters. The sons were all libe- 
rally educated. Of these, Eliphalet wag settled, as a minister 
of the gospel, in East-Hartford, where he continued to offi- 
ciate for about half a century. Ezekiel was sheriff of tho 
county of Hartford for more than thirty years; he died a 
few years since at WethersGeld, leaving behind him a cha- 
racter distinguished for energy and enterprise, liberality and 

William Williams, the subject of this memoir, war bon> in 
Lebanon, Conncc^cut, on the eighth of Apri', 1731. At the 
age of sixteen, he entered Harrard college. During hu col- 
legiate course, he was distingutahed for a diligent attention, 
and, at the proper period, was honourably graduated. Prom 
the unjrersity he returned home, and, for a considerable time, 
deroted himself to theological atudies, under the direction of 
his bther. 

In September, 17B6, was fought, at the head of Laks 
Oeorge, s celebrated battle between Ute prorindal troops 


under command of major ^nenl, Bfterwards Sir William 
Johnson, uded by a body or iodians led by the celebrated 
Hcndrickt and a body of French Canadians and indians, coiD- 
nmnded by Monsieur le Baron de Dieskm. At this time. Co- 
lonel Epbraim Williams commanded a regiment of proyindal 
troops, railed by MasaacfauBetti, with which he was engaged 
in the above battle. William Williams, the subject of onr 
memoir, belonged to his staff 

Colonel Williams was an officer of great merit. He was 
much beloved by his soldiers, and highly respected by the 
people of Massachusetts, in (he place where he resided. 
Williams' college owes its existence to him. As he was pro- 
ceeding through Albany, to the head of Lake George, he 
nade his will in that dly. In this instrument, after giving 
certain legacies to his connexions, he directed that the remain- 
der of his land should be sold at the discretion of his execu- 
tors, within five years after an established peace, and that the 
interest of the monies arising from the sale, together with 
some other property, should be applied to (he support of a 
free school, in some township in the western part of Maasa- 
ehusetts. This was the origin of Williams' college. Both 
the college, and the town in which it is situated, were named 
after their distinguished benefactor. 

Previous to the battle of Lake George, Colonel Williams 
was despatched with a party of twelve hundred men, to ob- 
serve the motions of the French and Indian army, under Hu- 
ron Dieskan. He met the enemy at Rocky Brook, four miles 
from Lake George. A tremendous battle now ensued. The 
English soldiers fought with great courage, but at length 
they were overpowered, and obliged to retreat. During the 
contest. Colonel Williams was shot tlirough the head by an 
Indian, and killed. The command of (he dc(achmcnt now 
devolved upon Colonel Whiting, of New-Haven, who succeed- 
ed in joining Sir William Johnson, with the force which had 
escaped the power of the enemy. The issue of this day is 
well known. The French army was finally repulsed, and tha 
Baron Dieskau was both wounded and taken prisoner. 

Soon after the death of Colonel Willianu, the subject of 

m CORNXCTICITT pklxdatidx. 

dus memoir, returned to Lebanon, where he resolred to fiz^ 
hit permanent residence. In 1766, at the age of twentyrfive 
years, he wu chosen clerk of the town of Lebanon, an office 
which he continued to hold for the space of forty-fire years. 
About the same time, he was appointed to represent the town 
in the genetal assembly of Gonnecticnt In this latter capa- 
city, he served a long succeBsion of years, during which hd 
was often chosen clerk of the house, and not unfrequendy 
filled, and always with dignity and reputation, the speaker'a 
chair. In 17S0, he ^as transferred to the upper house, being 
elected an assistant ; an office to whieh he was annuaUy re- 
elected for twenty-four years. It was recorded of him, what 
can probably be recorded of few, and perhaps of no other man, 
tliat for more than ninety sessions, he was scarcely absent 
trom his seat in the legislature, excepting when he was a 
member of the continental congress, in 1776 and 1777. 

During the years last meniioned, he was a member of th« 
national council ; and in the deliberations of that body oo^ a 
part, during the memorable period, when the charter of our 
independence received the finel approbation of congress. 

At an early period of the revolution, he embarked with 
great zeal in the cause of his country. During the campaign 
of 1755, while at the north, he had learned a lesson, which he 
did not forgeL He was at that time disgusted with the 
British commanders, on account of the haughtiness of their 
conduct, and the little attachment which they manifested for 
his native country. The impression was powerful and last- 
ing. At that time he adopted the opinion, that America would 
see no days ofprosperity and peace, so long as British officers 
should manage her affairs. On the arrival of the day, there- 
fore, when the revolutionary struggle commenced, and a 
chance was presented of release from the British yoke, Mr. 
Williams was ready to engage with ardour, in bringing about 
this happy state of things. He had fur several years been io- 
larested in mercantile pursuits. These he now relinquiahed, 
that he might devote himself to the cause of his country, H« 
powerfully contribnted to awakoi public iiseling, by several 
euayi on political it^jeett and when an oc«Bii<»i called him 

wnxuK wiLLiijis. ITT 

to speak in public, his palrioUc zeal and indep«ndent apirit 
were manifested, in a powerful and impresaive eloquence. 

Nor was Mr. Williams one of those patriots with whom 
words are all. He was ready to make sacrifices, whenerer 
occasion required. An instance of his public spirit is recorded, 
in the early part of the resolution. At this time the paper 
inoneyof thecoantiy was ofso little value, that military ser- 
rices could not be procured for it. Mr. Williams, with great 
liberality, exchanged more than two thousand dollars in 
apecie, for this paper, for the benefit of his country. In the 
lasue, he lost the whole sum. 

A similar spirit of liberality marked bis dealings, in the 
settlement of his afiairs, on the eve and during the course oJ 
the revolution. He was peculiarly kind to debtors impover- 
ished by the war ; and from the widow and the fatherless, 
made so by the struggle for freedom, he seldom made any 
exactions, even though he himself suffered by his kindness. 

At tlie commencement of the war, it is well known, there 
waa little provision made for the support of an army. There 
were no public stores, no arsenals filled with warlike instru- 
ments, and no clothing prepared for the soldiers. For many 
articles of the first necessity, resort was had to private conlri- 
bntions. The selectmen in many of the towns of Connecti- 
cut volunteered their services, to obtain articles for the neces- 
sary outfit of new recruits, for the maintenance of the families 
of indigent soldiers, and to furnish supplies even for the 
army itself 

Mr. Williams was, at this time, one of the selectmen of the 
town of Lebanon, an office which he continued to hold 
during the whole revolutionary war. No man was better 
fitted for such a station, and none could have manifested more 
unwearied zeal than he did, in soliciting the benefactions 
of private families for the above objects. Such was his suc- 
cess, that he forwarded to the army more than one thousand 
blankets. In many instances, families parted with their last 
blanket, for the use of the soldiers in the camp ; and butleia 
were made from the lead taken from the weights of clocks. 
Sncb was the patriotism of the fathers and mothers of the 

118 coKKBcnaoT 

landt in those days of trial. Iline w«n no eomfortt, whicb 
they could not cheerfnlly for«^, and no ucrificas which 
they did not joyfally make, that the blcMinga of freedom 
night be theirs, and mi^t descend to their posterity. 

In confirmation of the above evidence of the finnneas and 
patriotism of Mr. Williems, the following anecdote may be 
added. Towards the close of the year 1T7S, the militaiy- 
a&trs of the colonies wore a gloomy aspect, and strong 
fears began to prevail that the contest wotdd go against 
them. In this dubious state of things, the coonci! of a^e^ 
for Connecticut was called to sit at Lebanon. Two of the 
members of ihia council, William Hillhouae and Benjamin 
Huntington, quartered with Mr. Williams. 

One evening, the conversation turned upon the gloomy 
state of the country, and the probability that, after all, saccesa 
would crown the British arms. *'WelI," said Mr. Williams, 
with great calmness, " if they succeed, it is pretty evident 
what will be my fate. I hare done much to protecnte the 
contest, and one thing I have done, which the British will 
never pardon — I hare signed the Declaration of Indepen* 
dence. / skall be hvng." Mr. Hillhouae expreased his 
hope, that America would yet be successful, and his confi- 
dence that this would be her happy fortune. Mr. Hunting- 
ton observed, that in case of ill success, he should be exempt 
from the gallows, aa his signature was not attached to the 
declaration of independence, nor had he written any thing 
against the British government. To this Mr. Williams re- 
plied, his eye kindUng as he spoke, " Then, sir, yon deserve 
to be hanged, for not having done your duty." 

At the age of 41, he became settled in domestic life, having 
connected himself with the daughter of Jonathan TrombuII, 
at that time governor of the state. His lady, it is believed, 
hi^still living. Three children were the offspring of this 
marriage. Of these children, Solomon, the eldest, died in 
New-York, in 1810, a man greatly beloved by all who had the 
pleunre to know him. The only daughter is respectably 
eoonected in Woodstock, and iLe remaining son reoides hi 


Tlie demite of hu aUeat md wbb b great affliction to tht 
ag«d «nd infirm father. The iatdligence produced a shock 
from which he never recorered. ^rom thia time, he gredu- 
nlly declined. Four daya Iiefore his deatli, he loat the power 
of utterance, nor wu it expected that he wonid again apeak 
on this nde the gpraTe. A short time, howerer, prerionaljr to 
Ida death, he called alond for his deceased son, and requested 
him to attend his dyin^ parent. In e few moments he closed 
his Ufe. This event occurred on the 2d day of August, 1811, 
in Ibe 61st ytmr of his age. 

To this biognphical sketch of Mr. 'WUiams, we have 
only to add a word, respecting his character aa a Oiristian. 
Be made a profeasion of religion at an early age, and through 
the long course of his life, he was distinguished for a humble 
and consistent conduct and conversation. While yet almost 
a youth, he was elected to the office of deacon, in the congre- 
gational church to which he belonged, an office which he re- 
tained during the remainder of his life. Ilia latter days were 
chiefly devoted to reading, meditation, and prayer. At length 
the hoar arrived, when God would lake him to himself. He 
gave up the ghost, in a good old age, and was gathered to 
his fathers. 


Fkw families have been more disUnguiahed in the annals 
of Connecticut, than the Wolcott family. The ancestor of 
this family was Henry Wolcott, an English gentleman of 
considerable fortune, who was born in the year 1676. Dur 
ing the progreas of the Independents in England, he em- 
braced the principles of that sect, and hence becoming ob- 
noxious to the British government, he found it expedient to 
emignte to America. Hl> emigTatioD, with hia ftndlTf look 


jAmce in 1630. They Httled for s tinu at Dorehaster, in 


Mr. Wolcott i> repreaentcd to hare been a man of talents 
and eiiterpriae. PoBaessm^ an ample forlnne, he aaaodated 
biroflelfTitb John Mason, Roger Ludlow, Mr. StoughUm, and 
Mr. Newbeny, who were also men of -wealth, in the settle- 
ment of Windsor) in Connecticut. About the aame time, as 
la well known, aeltlemeota were made at Hartford and 

In 1639, the first general assembly of Connecticnt was 
holden at Hartford. It was composed of delegates from the 
above towns. Among these delegates was Henry Wolcott. 
Since that dat^ down to the present time, some of the mem- 
bers of this dietinguiahed family have been coneemed in the 
civil government of the atate. 

Simon Wolcotl was the youngest son of Henry Wolcott. 
Roger Wolcott, who is diatinguished both in the civil and 
miUlary annaU of the state, was the youngest son of Simon 
Wolcott. Oliver Wolcott, the subject of the present me- 
moir, was the youngest eon o( Roger Wolcott. He was 
born in the year 1726, and graduated at Yale College in 1747. 
In this latter year he received a commission as capl^n in 
the army, in the French war. At the head of a company, 
which was raised by his own exertions, he proceeded to the 
defence of the noriherQ frontiers, where he continQed until 
the peace of Atx-la-Chnpelle. 

At this^ime he returned to Connecticut, and commenced 
the study of medicine. He, however, never entered into the 
practice of t)ie profession, in consequence of receiving the 
appointment of shcrifT of the county of Litchfield, which 
was organized about the year 1751. 

In 1774 he was appointed an assistant in the council of the 
state. This may be considered ea the commencement of his 
political career. To the oflice of assistant, he continued to 
he annually re-elected till 1786. In the interval, he was for 
some time chief jndge of the court of common pleas for the 
county, and judge of the court of probate for the district of 


In, the rerolntlonsry eonteat, Mr. Wolcott wu one of the 
■trong pillan of the American canae. He inherited much of 
the independent feeling o( the ancestor of the family, of 
whom we hare spoken in the commencement of this ine* 
moir. In 1T76, he was summoned liy his natire state to re- 
present it in the national congress in Philadelphia. He had 
the honour of participating in the deliberations of that body, 
on the declaration of independence, and of recording his 
TOle in favour of its adoption. 

Immediately after the adoption of that instrument, he re- 
turned to Connecticut, and vas now invested with the com- 
mand of fourteen regiments of the state militia, which were 
raised for (he defence of New-York. In November, he re- 
stuned his seat in congress, and oa the edjoamment of that 
body to Baltimore, he accompanied them, ar.d there spent 
the winter of 1777. In the ensuing summer, he was engaged 
in several roilitary movements ; after which, he joined the 
northern army, under General Gates, with a corps of lererat 
hundred volunteers, and assisted in the memorable defeat of 
the British army under General Burgoyne. From this period, 
nntil 1786, he was either in attendance upon congress, in the 
field in defence of his country, or, aa a commissioner of indian 
aflairs lor the northern department, he was assisting in 
settling the terms of peace with the six nations. In 1786 he 
waa elected lieutenant governor, an office to which he was 
annually elected for ten years, when he was raised to the 
chief magistracy of the state. This latter office, however, 
he enjoyed but a little time, death putting an end to his active 
and laborious life, on the first of December, 1797, in the Tid 
year of his age- 

The life of Mr. Wolcott waa extended beyond the common 
«ge of man, but it was well filled with honourable services 
for his country. He merited and received the confidence of 
his fellow citizens. In his person, he was tall, and had the 
appearance of great muscular strength. Uis manners were 
dignified. He had great resolution of character, and might 
be said to he tenacious of his own opinions; yet he could 
■arrender them, in view of evidence, and was ready to alter 


s eoDTM wbich he hod proscribed for himwlf, when dat^ and 
proprie^ wemed to require it 

In 17G6, he was married to a Miw Collins, of OoUford, 
with whom he enjoyed great domestic felicity, for the spaee 
of forty yean. Few women were better qnalified for the 
discharge of domestic duties, than was Mrs. WoIcotL During 
the long absence of her husband, she superintended the edu- 
cation of her children, aod by her pmdence and frugality ad- 
ministered to the neceaeilies of her family, and rendered her 
house the seat of comfort and hospitality. 

Mr. Wolcott never pursued any of the learned professions, 
yel his reading was various and extenrive. He coltirated an 
acquaintance with the sciences, through the works of some 
of the most learned men of Europe, and was intimately ae- 
qnainted with history, both ancient and modem. He has 
the reputation, and it is believed jtistly, of having been an 
accomplished scholar. 

Mr. Wolcott was also distinguished for his love of order 
and religion. In his lost aickness he expressed, according to 
Dr. Backus, who preached his funeral sermon, a deep sense 
of hu personal imworthiness and guilt. For several days 
before his departure, every breath seemed to bring with it a 
prayer. At length, he fell asleep. He was an old man, and 
fiill of years, and went to his grave distinguished for a long 
series of services rendered both to his state and nation. The 
memory of his personal worth, of his patriotism, his in- 
tegrity, his christian walk and conrersation, will go down tw 
generations yet nnbom. 



WtiiUK Flotd, 
pBirip LtTiNosToir, 
Fkanois hwwn, 
Lew» Morris, 



William Flotd, who was the first delegate from New- 
Vork that signed the Declaration or Independence, was bora 
(in Long Island, on the 17th of December, 1734. His fkther 
was Nicoll Floj'd, an opulent and respectable landholder, 
whose ancestors came to America from Wales, about th« 
year 1680, and settled on Long Island. The father of Wil- 
liam died wiiile bis son was young, and left him heir to t 
large estate. 

The early education of young Floyd, by no means corres- 
ponded to the wealth and ability of his fether. His studies 
were limited to a few of the useful branches of knowledge, 
and these were left unfinished, in consequence of the death 
of that gentleman. The native powers of Floyd were, how- 
erer, respectable, and his house being the resort of an exten 

* This genUemui wm present wlran congrOB expreiBed tbeir approbatloa 
of the DednntiOQ of IndqKndBDce, uid voted in favour of it. But, beli»« 
(be engiutd copj wai ilgned ty 'Jie ■Bvenl memben, Mr. Mimer left 
tea g iam, tnd tlrai Uled of sflLdnf bia mum to Ihii memor^ile isatramoA 


rire circle of connexiooi aad acquaintance, whicb included 
nianj' intelligent and diniinf niihed families, hi> mind, by the 
intercourse which he thus enjoyed with thoee who were en- 
lightened and improved, became stored with rich and raried 
knowledge. Hia wealth enabled him to practice ■ generona 
hospitality, and few enjoyed the society of friends with more 

At an early period in the conlrorersy between Great Bri- 
tain and the colonies, the feelings of Mr. Floyd were strongly 
enlisted in the cause of the latter. He was a friend to the 
people ; and, with zeal and ardour, entered into every mea- 
snre which seemed calculated to ensure to them Ibeir just 

. rights. These sentiments on his part excited a reciprocal 
Gonlidence on the' part of the people, and led to his appoint- 
ment as a delegate from New-York to the first continental 
congress, which met in Philadelphia on the fiAh of Septem- 
ber, 1774. In the measures adopted by that body, so justly 
eulogized by the advocates of freedom, from that day to the 
present, Mr. Floyd most heartily concurred. 

In the following year, he was again elected a delegate to 
congress, and continued a member of tHat body until after the 
Declaration of American Independence. On that occasion, 
he assisted in dissolving the political bonds which had united 
the colonies to the British government ; and in coDseijnence 
of which, they had guSered numberless oppressions for yeara. 
Into other measures of congress, Mr. Floyd entered with 
zeal. He served on numerous important committees, and 
by his fidelity rendered essential service to the patriotic 

It was the lot of not a few, while thus devoted to the pub- 
lic good, to experience the destructive effects of the war 
upon their property, or the serious inconveniences arising 
from it in relation to their families. In both these respects 
Mr. Floyd suffered severely. While at Philadelphia, attend- 
ing upon congress, the American troops evacuated Long 
Island, which was taken possession of by the British army. 

■At Ihia latter event, the family of Mr. Floyd were obliged to 
Vb ibr alety to Connecticut. His hoosfl was occupied by a 


company of borBemen, which nwde it Uie place of their reo- 
dezrons during the remainder of the war. Thua, for uearljr 
ae*en yean, Mr. Floyd and bia bmily vere refugees from 
their habitation, nor did he, during thia long period, derive 
any benefit from bis landed eatate. 

In the year 1777, General Floyd (we give him tfaia military 
appellaUon, from the circumatance of his having some time 
before been appointed to the command of the militia oo 
Xiong Island) was appointed a eenator of the state of New- 
fork, under the new constitution. In this body, he assisted 
to organize the goremment, and to accommodate the cod* 
of laws to the changes which had recently been effected in 
the political condition of the state. 

In October, 1778, he was again elected to represent the 
state of New-York in the continental congress. From this 
time, until the expiration of the first congress, under the 
Tederol constitution, General Floyd was either a member of 
ihe national assembly, or a member of the senate of New- 
York. In this latter body, he maintained a distinguished 
rank, and was oAen called to preside over its deliberations, 
when the lieutenant governor left the chair. 

In 1784, he purchased an uninhabited tract of land upon 
the Mohawk River To the clearing and subduing of thia 
tract, he devoted the leisure of several successive Bummera. 
Under his skilful management, and persevering labours, a 
considerable portion of the tract was converted into a well 
cultivated farm ; and hithiir, in 1803, he removed his resi- 
dence. Although, at this time, he was advanced in life, hii 
bodily strength and activity were much greater than oAen 
pertain to men of fewer years. He enjoyed unusual health, 
until a year or two before his death. The faculties of bis 
mind continued unimpaired to the last. A little previous to 
nis death, he appeared to be effected with a general debility, 
which continuing to increase, the lamp of life was at length 
eitinguished. Thia event occurred on the 4th of August, 
1821, an& when he had attained to the extraordinary age of 
elghty-aeren years. 

In bis person. General Floyd waa of a middle atalure. Ha 
3 A 16' 


poBseMsd & iiBtural di^ly, which uldom fiuled to imprcH 
those into whose cDrnpsny he waa thrown. He appeared to 
enjof the pleasures of private life, yet in hia manaers he mt 
less bmiliar, and in his disposition less a^ble, than most 
men. Few men, however, were more respected. He waa 
eminently a practical man. The projects to which he gare 
his sanction, or which he attempted, were those which judg- 
ment could approve. When his purposes were once formedt 
he seldom found reason la alter them. Hia firmness knd re- 
solution were not often equalled. 

In his political character, there waa much to admire. Ue 
was uniform and independent He manifeated great candovr 
and sincerity towards those from whom he happened to dif- 
fer ; and such was his well known integrity, that his molives 
were rarely, if ever, impeached. He seldom took part in the 
public discussion of a subject, nor was he dependent upon 
others for the opinions which he adopted. His views were 
his own, and his opinions the result of reason and reflection. 
If the public estimation of a man be a just criterion by which 
to judge of him. General Floyd was excelled by few of his 
con temporaries, since, for more than fifty years he was ho- 
noured with offices of trust and responsibility 1^ his fellow 


Philip LiviieosTOff was born at Albany, on the fifteenth 
of January, 1716. His ancestors were highly respectable, and 
for several generations the family have held a distinguished 
rank in New- York. Hia great grandfather, John Livingston, 
was a divine of some celebrity in the church of Scotland. 
fr6m which country he removed to Rottenlani in the year 
1663. In 1T7S, or abont Ihat time, hia son Robert emignled 
to America, and aetOed in the colony of New-York. He waa 


fortmuts in obtaining s grant of a tract of land in that colo- 
ny, delightfully situated on the banks of the Hudson. Tbii 
tntcl. flioce known as the Manor of Liringaton, has been in 
poBseasion of the family from that dme to the present 

Robert Liringaton bad three aons, Philip, Robert, and 
Gilbert. The firat named of these, being the eldest, inherit- 
ed the manor. The fourtii son of this latter is the subject of 
the present memoir. 

The settlement of New- York, it is well known, was coi»- 
menced by the Dutch. For many years scarcely any atten- 
tion waa paid by them to the subject of education. They 
had few schools, few academies, and, until the year ITMt no 
college in the territory. Such gentlemen as ga*e their sons 
a liberal education, sent them either to New-England, or to 
some foreign university. But the number of liberally edu- 
cated men was eitremely small. As late as 1746, their num- 
ber did not exceed fifteen in the whole colony. The subject 
of this memoir, and his three brothers, were included in the 
number. The author is ignorant where the brothers of Mr. 
Liringston received their education, but be was himself gra- 
duated at Yale College, 1737. 

Soon after leaving college he settled in the city of New- 
York, where he became extensively engaged in commercial 
operations. Mercantile life was, at this time, the fashionable 
pursuit. Mr. Liringston followed it with great ardour ; and, 
having the advantage of an excellent education, and being 
distinguished for a more than ordinary share of integrity and 
sagacity, he was prosperous in an eminent degree. 

In 17&4, he was elected an alderman in the city of New- 
York. This was his first appearance in pnblic life. The 
office was important and respectable. The population of 
the luty was ten thousand eight hundred and eighty-one 
souls. Mr. Livingston continued to be elected to this office 
for nine successive years, by his fellow citizens, to whom he 
gave great satisfaction, by his faithful attention to their in- 

In 1759, Mr. Livingston was returned a member from the 
city of New-York to the general assembly of the colony, 


which wai conrened on (he tiiirty-fint of January of thst 
year, 'nils body consisted of twenty-seren members, repre- 
senting a population of about one hundred thouMid inhabit- 
ants, the number which the colony at that time eon.tiined. 

At this period. Great Britain was engaged in a war with 
France. A plan had been formed for the reduction of Cana- 
da by the United Colonies. For this object, it was proposed 
to raise twenty thousand men. The quota of New-York wat 
two thousand six hundred and eighty. This number the 
general assembly directed to be raiaed, and appropriated one 
hundred thousand pounda for the support of the troops, am) 
ordered an adrance of one hundred and fifty thonaand pounds 
to the British commissariat, for the general objects of ^e 
expedition. Similar measures were adopted by the other 
colonies, which, together with the assistance of the mother 
country, led to the capture of sereral important posts in Ca- 
nada ; and, in the following year, to the subjugation of the 
whole territory to the British power. 

In this assembly, Mr. Livingston acted a distinguished 
part His talents and education gave him inflaence, which 
was powerfully exerted in promoting the above important 
measures. He also suggested screra) plans, which were cal- 
culated to improre the condition of the colony, particularly 
in relation to agriculture and commerce. He was deeply 
impressed with the importance of giving to the productions 
of the country a high character in the markets abroad, and 
of increasing the facilities of communication with other coun- 
tries. In respect to these and other subjects, he possessed a 
well informed mind, and was desirous of pursuing a most libe- 
ral policy. 

Previous to the revolution, it was usual for the respective 
colonies to have an agent in England, to manage their indi- 
vidual concerns with the British government. This agent 
was appointed by the popular branch of the colonial assem- 
Dlies. In ITTO, the agent of the colony of New-York dying, 
ihe celebrated Edmund Burke was chosen in his stead. Be- 
tween this gentleman and a committee of the colonial as- 
sembly, a correspondence was maintained. As the agent 


of the eoionj, he received a nUiy of fire bnndred poonda. 
H« represented the colony in England, and advocated her 
right!. Hence the office was one of great importance. Not 
lees important were the dudes of the committee of correipoo- 
dence. Upon their repreaentationfl, the agent depended for 
a knowledge of the state of the colony. Of this committee 
Hr. Liringston was a member. From his communicationst 
and those of his colleagues, Mr. Barke doubtless obtained 
that information of the iitate of the colonies, which he som^ 
times brought forward, to the perfect HurpTise of the house 
of commons, and upon which he oAen founded arguments, 
and proposed measures, which were not to be resisted. 

The patriotic character and sentiments of Mr. Livingston, 
led him to regard, with great jealousy, the power of the Bri- 
tiih goTemment orer the colonies. With other patriots, ha 
was probably willing to submit to the authority of the mother 
country, while that authority waa confined to such acts as rea 
son and justice approved. But, when the British ministers 
began to evince a disposition to oppress the colonies, by way 
of humbling them, no man manifested a stronger opposition 
than Mr. Livingston. His senliments on this subject may be 
gathered from an answer, which he reported in 1764, to the 
speech of LieiUcoant Governor Golden. In the extract we 
give, may be seen the very spirit of the revolution, which led 
to American independence. 

" But nothing can add to tho pleasure we receive from the 
information your honour gives us, that his majesty, our most 
gracious sovereign, distinguishes and approves our conduct 
When his service requires it, we shall ever be ready to esert our- 
selves with loyalty, fidelity, and zeal ; and as we have always 
complied, in the most dutiful manner, with every requisi- 
tion made by his directions, we, with all humility, hope tha 
his majesty, who, and whose ancestors, have long been the 
guardians of British liberty, will so protect us in our rights, 
as to prevent our falling into the abject state of being forever 
hereafter incapable of doing what can merit either hia distinc- 
tion or approbaUon. Such must be the deplorable state of 
tkat wrel^ied people, who (bung taxed by a power iubordi* 


natc to none, and in a great dagre« nnacquainled with th«ir 
etrcamabuices) can call nothing thair own. Thia we apeak 
with the greateat deference to the wiidom and jostice of the 
British parliament, in which we confide. Depreaaed with thia 
prospect of inevitable ruin, by the alarming information we 
hare from home, neither we nor out eonstituenta can attend 
lo improrements, condacive either to the interesia of our mo- 
ther country, or of this colony. We shall, hawever, renew 
the act for granting a bounty on hemp, still hoping that a atop 
may be put to those mesBures, which, if carried into execu- 
tion, will oblige us to think that nothing but extreme poverty 
can preserve us from the most insupportable bondage. We 
hope your honour will join with us in an endeavour to secure 
that great badge of English liberty, of being taxed only witk 
our own conaent ; which we conceive all his majesty's sub- 
jects at home and abroad equally entitled to." 

The colony of New-York, it is well known, was, for a 
time, more under the influence of the British crown than se- 
veral olhers, and more slowly, as a colony, adopted measures 
which hastened forward the revolution. But all along, there 
were indtviduala in that colony, of kindred feelings with those 
who acted BO conspicuous a part in Massachusetts and Vir- 

Among these individuals, none poaaeseed a more ptttriotic 
spirit, or was more ready, to rise in opposition to British ag- 
gressions, than Philip Livingston. The sentiments which he 
had avowed, and the distinguiBhed part which he had all along 
taken, in favour of the rights of the colonies, marked him out 
as a proper person to represent (he colony in the important 
congress of 1774. In the deliberations of this body he bore 
his proper share, and assisted in preparing an address to the 
people of Great Britain. 

Of the equally distinguished congress of 1776, Mr. Living- 
aton was a member, and had the honour of giving his vote in 
ftvonr of that declaration, which, while it was destined to per- 
petuate the memory of the illustrious men who adopted it, 
was to prove the diartet of our national existence. In the 
following year, he was re-elected to congress by the stal* 

pBtLiF iimsaroir. 191 

eonrention, which, at this time, tendered to him and his col> 
leag;iiefl an expreanon of public thanks, for the long and lailb- 
fnl serrices which they had rendered to the colony of the 
Btale of New-York. 

The constitution of the state of New-York waa adopted at 
Kingaton, on the twentieth of April, 1777. Under this 
coiutitDtioB, Kir. Livingston, in May following, was chosen 
a senator for the southern district, and in that capacity at- 
tended the first meeting of the first legislature of the state ol 

In October of the same year, an election took place for 
mcmben of congress, under the new constitution. Among 
ihe number chosen, Mr. Livingston was one. On the 5th 
of May, 177S; he took his seat in that body. This was an 
eminently critical and gloomy period in the history of the re- 
volution. The British had taken poasession of Philadelphia, 
compelling congress to retire from that city. They had 
tgreed to hold a session at York. 

At this time, the health of Mr. Livingston was exceedingly 
precarious. And such was the nature of his complaint, which 
was a dropsy in the chest, that no rational prospect existed 
of his recovery. Indeed, he was daily liable to be summoned 
from the active scenes of life to his tinal account. Yet, in 
thia dubious arfd anxious state, his love to his country conti- 
nued strong and unwavering. For her good he had made 
many sacrifices ; and, now that her interests seemed to re- 
quire his presence in congress, he hesitated not to relinquish 
the comforts of home, and those attentions which, in his fee- 
ble and declining state, he peculiarly needed from a beloved 

Previous (o his departure, he visited his friends in Albany, 
whom he now bid a final farewell, as he expected to see them 
no more. His family, at this time, were at Kingston, whi- 
ther they had been obliged to flee to escape Die British army. 
To these, also, he bid on affectionate adieu, at the same time 
expressing his conviction, that he shoutd no more return. 

These sad anticipations proved too true. On the fifth 
of May, he took bis seat in congress, from which time his de- 


cline was rapid. On the twelfth of June, ho ended his vahi- 
tfble life. Although deprived of the consolations of honie, 
he was attended, during the few last days of his illness, by 
his son, Henry, who was at that time a member of General 
Washington's family. Hearing of the illneM of hit father, 
he hastened to administer such comforts as might be in his 
power, and to perform the last duties to a dying parent 

On the day of his decease, hb death was announced in the 
hall of congress, and by that body the following resolutions 
adopted : 

** Congress being informed that Mr. P. Livingston, one of 
the delegates for the state of New-York, died last night, and 
that circumstances require that his corpse be interred this 

** Resolved, that congress will in a body attend the funeral 
this evening, at six o'clock, with a crape round the arm, and 
will continue in mourning for the space of one month. 

** Ordered, that Mr. Lewis, Mr. Ducr, and Mr. G. Morris, 
bo a committee to superintend the funeral; and that the Rev. 
Mr. Duffield, the attending cliaplain, be notified to officiate on 
the occasion." 

Mi. Litri::;;?t^n married the daughter of Colonel DirckTen 
Broeck, by whom he had several children. His family has 
furnished several characters who have adorned society, and 
whose virtues have imparted dignity to human nature. Mr. 
Livingston is said to have been naturally silent and reserved, 
and, to strangers, to have appeared austere. Yet he was un- 
commonly mild and affectionate to his family and friends. 
He was a firm believer in the great truths of the Christian 
svstcm, and a sincere and humble follower of the divine Re- 



FaAHou Lswu vu ■ nstive of Landaff, in South WalM. 
when he wu bom in the year 1713. HU &ther wu k 
clergTman, belonging to the eflt&blUhed church. His mo- 
tlier vu the daughter of Dr. Pettingal, who wu alio a 
eltTgyimn of the epiacopal eHtabliihment, and had his ren- 
dence in North Wales. At the early age of four or five yean, 
being left an orphan, the care of him devolved upon a mater- 
nal maiden aunt, who took singular pains to have him in- 
stmcted in the native language of his country. He wai 
aflerwards sent to Scotland, where, in the family of a relatioOt 
he acquired a knowledge of the Gaelic From this, he iraa 
tranaferred to the sdiool of Westminster, where he completed 
his education ; and enjoyed the reputation of being a good 
dassical scholar. 

Mercantile pursuits being his object, he entered the count- 
ing room of a London merchant ; where, in a few years, he 
icqnired a competent knowledge of the profession. On at- 
taining to the age oftwenty'oneyears, he collected the property 
which had been left him by his father, and having converted it 
into merchandise, he sailed for New- York, where he arrived 
in the spring of 1735. 

Leaving a part of his goods to be sold in New- York, by 
"UIt. Edward Annesly, with whom he had formed a commer- 
«ial connexion, he transported the remainder to Philadelphia, 
'vhence, after a residence of two years, he returned to the 
Conner city, and there became extensively engaged in naviga- 
tion and foreign trade. About this time he connected him- 
■elf by marriage with the sister of his partner, by whom he 
had aeveral children. 

Mr. Lewis acquired the character of an active and enter- 
prising merchant In the course of his commercial transac- 
tions, he traversed a considerable part of the continent of 
Europe. He visited several of the seaports of Russia, th« 
Orkney and Shetland Islands, and twice suffered shipwreck 
of the Irish coasL 

«B 17 


During the French or Canadian war, Mr. t.ewu wu, for 
a time, ag^nt for sapplying the Britiah troops. In this capa- 
dty, he wba present at the time, when, in Aognat, 17S6, the 
fort of Oawego waa anrrendered to the diatiiigiiiihod French 
general, de Montcalm. The fort was, at that time, command- 
ed by the British Colonel Mersey. On the tenth of Angnil, 
Montcalm approached it with more than fire thonaand Eivope- 
ana, Canadians, and Indiana. On the twelfth, at midnight, 
be opened the trenches, with thirtjr-tvo piocea of cannon, be- 
sidea Bereral braas mortsra and howitzera. The garrison 
having fired away all their ahella and ammunition, Colonel 
Mereey ordered the cannon to he spikedi and crossed the rivei 
to Little Oswego Fort, without the loss of a aingle man. Ot 
the deserted fort, the enem^ took immediate poueesion, and 
from it began a fire, which was kept up without iniermisNon. 
The next day. Colonel Mersey was killed while standing by 
the side of Mr. Lewis. 

The garrison, being thus deprived of their commander,' 
their fort destitute of a cover, and no prospect of aid present- 
ing itself, demanded a capitulation, and surrendered as priaon- 
ers of war. The garrison consisted at this time of the re- 
gimenta of Shirley and Fepperell, and amounted to one thon- 
sand and four hundred men. The conditions reqmred, and 
acceded to, were, that they should be exempted from plunder, 
conducted to Montreal, and treated with humanly. The 
services rendered by Mr. Lewis, during the war, were 
held in such consideration by the British government, that 
at the close of it he received a grant of five thousand acres 
of land. 

The conditions, upon which the garrison at Fort Otwego 
surrendered to Montcalm, were shamefully violated by that 
commander. They were assured of kind trestmcnt ; but no 
sooner had the surrender been made, than Montcalm aDowed 
the chief warrior of the Indians, who assisted in taking the 
ibrt, to select about thirty of the prisoners, and do with 
diem as he pleased. Of this number Mr. Lewis was one. 
FIsMsed thus at tho disposal of savage power, a speedy and 
emd death was to be expected. The frdditim is. howenr 


tint he fooD diMOTered that he was able to conrene vith 
tho indiaos, \tj reason of the nmilarity of the ancient laik- 
gsage of Walea, which he understood, to the iodian dialecL 
The ability of Hr. Lewis, thoa readily to communicate with 
the chief, lo pleased the latter, that he treated Mm kindly ; 
■nd oa arriving at Montreal, be requested the French go- 
remor to allow him to retom to his family, without ranaom. 
The request, howeTer, was not granted, and Mr. Lewia 
waa sent as a prisoner to France, from which country, 
being some time after exchanged, he returned to America. 

This tradition as to the cavse of the liberation of Mr. 
Lewis, is incorrect ; no such affinity existing between the 
Cymreag, or ancient language of Wales, and the language ot 
any of the Indian tribes found in North America. The cause 
might hare been, and probably was, some unusual occurrence, 
or adventure ; but of its precise nature we are not informed. 

Although Mr. Lewis was not bom in America, his aitach- 
^ment to the country was coeval with hia settlement in iL 
He early espoused the patriotic cause, against the encroacb- 
menls of the British government, and was among the first to 
unite with an association, which existed in several parts ol 
the countryi called the " sons of liberty," the object of which 
was to concert measures against the exercise of on undue 
power on the part of the mother country. 

The independent end patriotic character which Mr. Lewis 
was known to possess, the uniform integrity of his life, the 
distinguished intellectual powers with which he was en- 
dued, all pointed him out as a proper person lo assbt in ta- 
king charge of iho interest of the colony in the continental 
congrt«e. Accordingly, in April, 1776. he was unanimously 
elected a delegate to that body. In this honourable station he 
waa continued by tho provincial congress of New-York, 
throDgh the following year, 1776 ; and was among the num- 
ber who declared the colonies forever absolved from their 
allegiance to the British crown, and from that time en- 
tided to the rank and privileges of free and independent 

In several aubaequent years, he was appoinlad Jl 


the state in the national legisletnre. Daring hie ei 
cereer, Mr. Levis wu diitingnidied for e becoming zeal in 
llie cause of liberty, tempered by the influence of a correct 
judgment and a cautions prudence. He was employed in 
several secret service ; in the purchase of provunona and 
clothing for the army ; and in the importation of military 
stores, particularly arms and ammnnition. In transactions 
of this kind, his commercial experience gare him great facili- 
ties. He was also employed on Tarious committees, in 
which capacity, he rendered many Taluable services to his 

• In 1775, Mr. Lewis remored his bmily and effects to ■ 
conntry seal which he owned on Long Island. This proved 
to be an unfortunate step. In the autumn of the following 
year, hia house was plundered by a party of British light 
horse. His extensive library and valuabl" papers of erery 
description were wantonly destroyed. Nor were they con- 
tented with this ruin of his property. They thirsted for re* 
renge upon a man, who had dared to aSx his signature 'to a 
document, which proclaimed the independence of America. 
Unfortunately Mrs. Lewis fell into their power, and was re- 
tained a prisoner for sereral months. During her captivity, 
■he was closely confined, without even the comfort of a bed 
to lie upon, or a change of clothes. 

In November, 1776, the attention of congress was called to 
her distressed condition, and shortly after a resolution wm 
passed that a lady, who had been taken prisoner by the Ame- 
ricans, should be permitted to return to her husband, and 
that Mrs. Lewis be required in exchange. But the ex- 
change could not at that time be effected. Through the in- 
fluence of Washington, however, Mrs. Lewis was at length 
released ; but her sulTerings during her confinement had so 
much impaired her constitution, that in the course of a year 
or two, she sunk into the grave. 

Of the subsequent life of Mr. Lewis, we have little to 
record. His latter days were spent in comparative poverty, 
his independent fortune having in a great measure been aa^ 
rifioed on the allw oS pitriotiun, daring his country's stnig- 

|le for hidependenee. The life of thifl exeellent man, and 
diatinguished patriot, wnt extended to his ninetieth yeu*. Hb 
death occnrrfd on the 30th da^ of De«ember, 1803. 


Lewis Morris was bora at the manor of Horrisania, tn 
Estate of New York, in the year 1 726. His family was of 
incieat date ; the pedigree of it has been preserved ; but it is 
too extended to admit of a particular notice in these pages. 
Richard Morris, an ancestor of the family, beyond whom it is 
nnneceasary to trace its genealogy, was an olBcer of some dis- 
tinction in the time of Cromwell. At the restoration, how- 
ever, he led England, and came to New-York ; boou after 
which be obtained a grant of several thousand acres of land, 
in the county of West-Chester, not far from the city. This' 
was erected into a manor, and invested with the privileges, 
which usually pertain to manorial estates. 

Richard Morris died in the year 1673, leaving an infant 
diild by the name of Lewis, who afterwards held the office of 
chief justice of the province of New- York, and became go- 
vernor of New-Jersey. In both these offices he was much 
respected, and exercised an enviable influence in both these 
colonies. The sons of Lewis were not less eminent ; one 
bring appointed a judge of the court of vice admiralty; ano- 
ther chief justice of New-Jersey ; and a third lieutenant go- 
vernor of the state of Pennsylvania. 

'From one of these sons, Lewis Morris, the subject of ttkO 
present memoir, was descended. He was the eldest of four 
brothers. Staats became an officer in the British service, and 
for some time a member of parliament. Richard and Oovei> 
near both settled in the state of New- York, and both beeama 
Men of Gon^erable distinction ; the fomer as judge of (he 

of tbe Tiea «dmin]t7 eonrt, and chief jmttea of ihe ttatet Mid 
Ad latter u a repreaentatiTe in congreaa. 

The early education of Lewia waa reapectable. At the 
8|;e of sixteen he waa fitted for college) and waa entered 
at Yale college, the honours of which he receiTed in doe 
courae, haring acquired tlie reputation of good scholarship) 
and a atrict morality. Imraediateiy on leaving college, he 
returned to hia father's residence, where he deroted himself 
to the pursuits of agriculture. Aa he entered upon manhood, 
he aeema to have poaseased every thing which naturally com- 
mands the respect, and attracta the admiration of men. Hia 
person was of lofty atature, and of fine proportions) impeLTting 
to his presence an uncommon dignity, softened, however, by 
a dispoaition unuaually generoua and benevolent, and by a 
demeanor ao graceful, that few could fail to do him homage. 

Although thus apparently fitted for the enjoyment of ao 
ciety, Mr. Morris found his greatest pleasure in the endear- 
ments of domeatic life, and in attention to hia agricultural ope- 
rations. He waa early married to a Miss Walton, a lady of 
fortune and accomplishments, by whom he had a large family 
of six sons and four daughters. 

The condition of Mr. Morris, at the time the troubles of 
the colonies began, waa singularly t'eUcitous. His fortune 
was ample ; his pursuits in life consonant to his taste ; hia 
family and connexions eminently respectable, and eminently 
proaperoua. No change was, therefore, likely to occur whieh 
would improve his condition, or add to the happiness which 
he enjoyed. On the contrary, every collision between the 
royal government and the colonies, waa likely to abridge 
some of his privileges, and might even strip his family of all 
their domeatic comforts, should he parUcipate in the struggle 
which was likely to ensue. 

These considerations, no doubt, had their influence at 
times upon the mind of Mr. Morris. He possessed, however, 
too great a share of patriotism, to suffer private fortune, or 
individual happiness, to come in competition with the intereats 
of hia country. He could neither feel indifferent on a subject 
(tfwmucb magnttnde. nor could he pursue a coarse of noB- 

tmBty. H« entered, llierefore, with zed into the growing eon* 
trorersy ; he hesitited not to pronounce the meaaureB of iJia 
Britiah ministry nnconfltitutionel and tyrannical, and beyond 
peaeefu] endurance. Aa the political condition of the coun- 
try became more gloomy, and the prospect of a resort to turmi 
increased, his patriotic feeling; appeared to gather strength ; 
and although he was desirous that the contrOTersy should be 
settled without bloodshed, yet he preferred the latter alterna 
tire, to the surrender of those rights which the God of nature 
h«d giren to the American people. 

About this time, the celebrated congress of 1774 assembled 
■t New-Yorlc Of this congress Mr. Morris was not a mem> 
ber. He ptAsessed a spirit too bold and independent, to acl 
with the prudence which the situation of the country seemed 
to require. The object of this congress was not war, but 
peace. That object, however, it is well known, failed, not 
withstanding that an universal desire pervaded the country, 
that a compromise might be effected between the colonies 
and the British government, and was made known to the lat- 
ter, by a dignified address, both to the king and to the people 
of Great Britain. 

In the spring of 177S, it was no longer doubtful that a re- 
sort must be had to arms. Indeed, the battle of Lexington 
had opened the war ; shortly afler which the New-York con- 
Tendon of deputies were assembled to appoint delegates to 
the general congress. Men of a zealous, bold, and indepen- 
dent stamp, appeared now to be required. It was not singu- 
lar, therefore, that Mr. Morris ahonid have been elected. 

On the ISlh of May, he took his seat in that body, and 
eminently contributed, by bis indefatigable zeal, to promots 
the interests of the country. He was placed on a committee 
of which Washington was the chairman, to devise ways and 
means to supply the colonics with ammunition and military 
Jtores, of which they were nearly destitute. The labours of 
this committee were exceedingly arduous. 

DuriDg this session of congress, Mr. Morris woe appointed 
to the delicate and difficult task of detaching the western 
bdiuu from « GOtlition with the Biitiih gormaumt, and 

Mcurlng their co^peraUon with the Amerietn eotonim.; 
Boon after his appointment to ihii dntjr, he repaired to Pitts 
bnrg, in which place, and the ricintty, he continued for aotne 
time zealously engaged in accompliahing the object of his 
mission. In the beginning of the year 1776, he r*iumed his 
^eal in congress, and was a member of sereral committees, 
Thich were appointed to purchase muskets and bayonets, 
and to encoaroge the manufacture of salt-petre and gun- 

During the winter of 1776 and 1776, the subject of a De- 
claration of Independence Ijegan to occnpy the thoughts of 
many in all parte of the country. Such a declaration ieemed 
manifestly desirable to the leading patriots of the day, bat 
an unwillingness prevailed extensively in the country, to 
deelroy all connexion with Great Britain. In none of the 
colonics was this unwillingness more apparent than in New* 

The reason which has been asaigned for this strong rclfle- 
tance in that colony, was the peculiar intimacy which existed 
between the people of the city and the officers of the royal 
government. The military' officers, in particular, had ren- 
dered themselves very acceptable to the citizens, by their 
urbanity ; and had even formed connexions with some of the 
most respectable families. 

This intercourse continued even after the commencement 
of hostilities, and occasioned the reluctance which existed in 
that colony to separate from the mother country. Even as 
late as the middle of March, 1776, GovernorTrj-on, although ■ 
he had been forced to retreat on board a British armed vessel 
in the harbour for sofety, had great influence over the citi- ■ 
zens, by means of artful and insinuating addresses, which he 
caused to be published and spread through the city. The fol- 
lowing e.'itract from one of these addresses, will convoy to - 
the reader some idea of the art employed by thin minister of 
the crown, to prevent tlie people of that colony from mingling ■ 
in the struggle. 

" It is in the clemency and authority of Great Britain only ' 
that we can look for Imppiness, peace, and protection ; ami t . 

bxn it in command £roin the king, to eneonrage, by evnj 
meana in my power, the expectatiotu in his majeety's val^ 
diapoaed snbiecta in tfaia goremmentt of every uaistance and 
protection the atate of Great Britain will enable hia msjes^ 
to afibrd them, and to crush every appearance of a dispori- 
tion, on their part, to withstand the tyranny and miamle, 
which accompany the acts of those who have bat too well, 
hitherto, aneceeded in the total subversion of legal ggvein- 
menL Under snch assurances, therefore, I exhort all the 
Aienda to good order, and our justly admired constitution, still 
to preserve that constancy of mind which is inherent in the 
br^la of virtuous and loyal citizens, and, 1 trust, a very few 
awntha will relieve them from their present oppressed, io- 
lared, and inaulted condition. 

**i have the satisfaction to inform you, that a door is still 
open to such honest, but deluded people, as will avail them- 
aelves of the justice and benevolence, which the supreme le- 
gislature has held out to them, of being restored to the king*! 
grace and peace ; and that proper steps have been taken for 
passing a commission for that purpose, under the great seal 
of Great Britain, in conformity to a provision in a late act of 
parliament, the commissioners thereby to be appointed having, 
also, power to inquire into the state and condition of the colo- 
nies for effecting a restoration of the public tranquil lily." 

To prevent an intercourse between the citizens and the 
fleet, so injurious to the patriotic cause, timely measurea 
were adopted by the committee of safety ; but for a long 
time no efforts were availing, and even after Genera! Wash- 
ington had established his head-quarters at New-York, he 
was obliged to issue his proclamation, interdicting all inter- 
course and correspondence with the ships of war and other 
vessels belonging to the king of Great Britain. 

But, notwithstanding this prevalent aversion to a separation 
from Great Britain, there were many in the colony who 
believed that a declaration of independence was not only a 
point of political expediency, but a matter of paramount 
duty. Of this latter class, Mr. Morris was one ; and, in 
giving his vote for that declaration, be exhibited a patriotiin 

8C ^ 


Mid diiinterefltedness which few had it in their power to dis 
fiftj. He wit at tUf time ih poflsession of an extensive domain, 
wkUm m t&w nOm of die dtj of Mew-York. A British 
MPMf had abead^ laaded ftmi dieir daiMv wUak lajwilUa 
eanon abet of the dwelKaf of Ue Cuiri^* A aifMtoe to 
the Dedaffatioii of IndepeadeBee woaU iaave Ae 
tioa of die fonier« and the deatnictio& of die latter* 
qwB the nrin of hia individnal property* he coidd look wiA 
eeanparatife indifinreiicey while he knew that hia hononr waa 
vntamiahedy and the interests of hia eoimtiy were safik He 
voted* dwrefbre* for a sepaiadon from die mother ee itij* in 
the spirit of a man of hononr, and of enbrged benevehBoe. 

It happened aa was anticipated. The hoatile amj aoen 
apread desolation orer the beautiiid and fertile manor of Mbr- 
rlaania. His tract of woodland of more diaa a duraaaiid 
oerea in extent, and, from its proximity to die eity, of Incal- 
edaUe Tslue, was destroyed ; his house waa greedy iigmred; 
Us fences mined; hisstocJi drivenaway; and hiafamfly obliged 
to live in a state of exile. Few men during die rerokulon 
were caUed to make greater aacrifices than Mr. Morrb; none 
made them more cheerfully* It made some tmimda ibr his 
losses and sacrifices, that the colony of New-Toik, wUeh 
had been backward in agreeing to a Declaration of Indepen- 
dence, imanimously concurred in that measnre by her eon- 
Tendon, when it was learned that congress had taken that 

It imparts pleasure to record, that the three eldest sons 
of Mr. Morris' followed the noble example of their fiidier, 
and gave their personal sendees to their country, during the 
reroludonary struggle. One served for a time ar aid-de-camp 
to General SuUiran, but afterwards entered the family of 
General Greene, and was with that officer during his brilliant 
campaign in the Carolines ; the second son was appointed 
aid-de-camp to General Charles Lee, and was present at die 
gallant defence of Fort Moultrie, where he greaUy distin- 
guished himselfl The youngest of these sons, though but a 
youth, entered the army as a lieutenant of artillery, and 
honourably served during Che war. 

Lnna Hossu, 303 

Mr. Moiria left congress In 1777, it which tiroe, he n- 
ceiTcd) together with his coDeagnes, the thinks of the pro- 
vincial coDTention, " for their long snd faithful serrices ren- 
dered to the colony of New-York, and the said state." 

Id subseqnent yean, Mr. Morris aerred his slate in varioos 
ways. He was oflen a memljer of the state legislature, aad 
n>M to the rank of major general of the militia. 

The latter years of Mr. Morris were passed at his fevonrite 
residence at Morriaania, where he devoted himself to the 
noiseless, but happy pursuit of sgricniture ; a kind of life to 
which he was much attached, and which was an appropriate 
mode of closing a long life, devoted to the cause of his conn- 
tty. He died on his paternal estate at Morriiania, in the 
bowm of his fitmily, January, 1796, at the good old age of 
MTOity-one years. 

Hmr-JERsmr DELseATioff. 

Richard Stockton, 

Fkamcis H0FKIiaSO5, 
John Hart, 
Abrabam Clabx. 


Tbe first or the Netr^Jersey delegation, who signed (he 
Declaration of Independence, was Richard Stockton. He 
was bom near Princeton, on the 1st day of October, 1730. 
His family was ancient and respectable. His great grand- 
falher, who boretfie same name, came from England, about 
the year 1670, and after residing a few years on Long Island, 
removed with a number of associates to an extensive tract 
of land, of which the present village of Princeton is nearly 
the cenlre. This tract oonsisted of six thousand and four 
hundred acres. This gentleman died ia the year 1706, leav- 
ing handsome legacies to his several children ; but the chief 
portion of his landed estate to his son, Richard. The death 
of Richard followed in 17S0. He was succeeded in the 
family seat by bis youngest son, John; a man distinguished 
for hie moral and religious character, for his liberality to the 
college of New-Jersey, and for great fidelity in the discharge 
of the duties of public and private life. 

Richard Stockton, the subject of the present memoir, mm 
tb« eldMt ion of th« lut mentioned gontleman. His etrljr 


cdneatioa was highly reipectable, being BopeTintended by 
that BccompliBhed scholBr, Rev. Dr> Samuel Finley, in r ce* 
Icbnted Rcsdetny at Weit-Nottingham. Hi* preliminary 
ttndies being finished, he entered the college of New-Jersey, 
whose honours he received in 1748. He was even at ttiia 
lime greatly distinguished for intellectual superiority ; giving 
promise of future eminence in any profesaion he might 

On leaving college, he commenced the study of law with 
the honourable David Ogden, of Newark, at that time at the 
head of the legal profession in (be province. At length, Mr. 
Stockton was admitted to the bar, and soon rose, as had been 
inticipated, to great distinction, both as a counsellor and an 
advocate. He was an able reasoner, and equally diednguiah- 
cd for an easy, and, at the same time, impressive eloquence. 

In 1766 and 1767, he relinquished his professional bosi- 
neos, for the purpose of visiting England, Scotland, and Ire- 
land. During hia tour through those countries, he was re- 
ceived with that attention to which he was eminently entitled, 
by the estimable character which he had austained at home, 
and his high professional reputation. He was presented at 
court, by a minister of the king, and had the honour of being 
consulted on American afiairs, by the Marquis of Rocking- 
ham, by the Earl of Chatham, and many other distinguished 

On visiting Edinburgh, he was received with still greater 
attention. lie was complimented with a public dinner, by 
■be authorities of that city, the freedom of which was uuani- 
mopsly conferred upon him, as a teatimony of respect for his 
disdnguished character. 

A abort time previous, the presidency of New-Jersey col 
lege had been conferred upon the Reverend Dr. Wither- 
ipoon. a distinguished divine, of the town of Paisley, in the 
vicinity of Glasgow. This appointment Dr. WitherBpoon 
had been induced to decline, by reason of the reluctance of 
(he female members of hie family to emigrate to America. 
At (be request of the tmatees of the college, Mr. Stockton 
fiaited Dr. Witherspoon, and waa so fortunate in removing 


objcctioni, that not long after the latter gentlemsn accepted 
the appointment, and removed to America, where he became 
a diadnguishcd supporter of the college over which he pre- 
sided, B friend to religion and science is the country, and one 
of the strong pillar* in the temple of American freedom. 

The following inslanccB in which Mf. Stockton narrowly 
escaped death, during his absence, deaerre notice. 'While 
he was in the city of Edinburgh, he was waylaid one night by 
a fnrions robber. lie defended himself, however, by mecns 
of a small sword, and cren succeeded in wounding the despe- 
rado. He was not materially injured himself, but was not bo 
fortunate as to prevent the escape of his assailant. In the 
other case, he was designing to cross the Irish channel, and 
had actoally engaged a passage in a packet for that purpose. 
The unseasonable arrival of his baggage, howcvur, detained 
him, and fortunate it was that he was thus detained, for the 
packet, on her voyage, was shipwrecked during a storm, and 
both passengers and crew found a watery grave. 

The following year he was appointed one of the royal 
judges of the province, and a member of the executive conn- 
cil. At that time he was high in the royal favour, and hi^ 
domestic felicity seemed without alloy. He possessed an 
ample fortune, was surrounded by a family whom he greatly 
loved, and held tt high and honourable station under the king 
of Great Britain. 

But the time at length arrived, when the question arose, 
whether he should renounce hia allegiance to his sovereign, 
and encounter the sacrillccs which such a step must bring 
Upon him, or continue that allegiance, and forfeit hia charac- 
ter as a friend to his country. 

Situated as was Mr. Stockton, the above question could 
not long remain unsettled ; nor was it for any length of timo 
doubtful into which scale he would throw the weight of his 
Influence and character. The sacrifices which he was called 
upon to make, were cheerfully endured. He separated him- 
self from the royal council, of which he was a member in 
New-Jersey, and joyfully concurred in all those meBsnret 
at Ae d^, whidi had for ihnr object the eftabliahmeat of 


Amnricsn ri^ts, in opposition to the ubitnry ud oppreodrc 
Beta of the Britiib, mimatrf. 

On the tventj-'firat of June, 1779, he waa elected by the 
pTovincial oongreas of New-Jeney a dele^te to the geDerel 
eongreae, then sitting in the city of PhiladelphiB. On the 
occurrence of the question relating to a declaration of inde> 
pendenee, it ia underatood that he had aome doubts aa to the 
expediency of ibe measure. These doubts, hoireTer, were 
soon dissipated by the powerful and impressive eloquence of 
John Adams, >the great Colossus on this sabject on the floor 
of congress. Mr. Stockton was not only conrinced of the 
importance of the measure, but even addressed the house in 
its behalf, before the close of the debate. It is needless to 
detain the reader by a particular mention of the many im 
portent aerrices which Mr. Stockton rendered hii country, 
while a member of congress. In all the duties assigned to 
him, which were numerous end often arduous, he acted with 
an energy and fidelity alike honourable to him as a man and 
a patriot. 

On the thirtieth of November he was unfortunately taken 
phMiner by a parly of refugee royalists. He was dragged 
from his bed by night, and carried to New-York. During 
his removal to the latter place he was treated with great in- 
dignity, and in New-York he was placed in the common 
prison, where he was in want of even the necessaries of life. 
The news of hia capture and suflerings being made known to 
eongreaa, that body unanimously passed the following re- 
solution : 

" Whereas congress hath received information that the 
honourable Richard Stockton, of New-Jersey, and a member 
of thia congress, hnth been made a prisoner by the enemy, 
and that he bath been ignominiously thrown into a common 
goal, pnd there detained — Resolved, that General Washing- 
ton be directed to raake immediate inquiry into the truth of 
this report, and if he finds reason to believe it well founded, 
that he send a flag to General Howe, remonstrating agaiost 
this departure from that hnmane procedure whirh has mark- 
ed the conduct of ibeee states to prisoners who have fallen 


tnto their hands ; »nd to know of Gmenl Howe whether lie 
chooses this shall be the future nile for trekting alWuch. on 
both Bidet, u the fortune of w>r may place in Ibe hands of 
either party." 

Mr. Stockton was at length released; but his confinement 
had been so strict, and his sufierings so severe, that his eon- 
atitution could never after recorer the shock. Besides this, 
his fortane, which had been ample, was now greatly rednced. 
His lends were devaststed; his papers and library were burnt; 
his implements of hnsbandry destroyed ; and his stock seised 
and driven away. He was now obliged to depend, for a 
season, upon the assistance of friends, for even the necessa* 
ries of life. From the time of his imprisonment his health 
began to fail him ; nur was it particularly benefitted by his 
release, and a restoration to the society of his friends. He 
continued to languish for several- years, and at length died at 
his residence, at Princeton, on the 28th of Febniary, 1781, 
in the fi%-thirdycar of bis age. 

His death made a wide chasm among the circle of his 
friends and acquaintance. He waa, in every respect, a dis- 
tinguished man ; an honour to his country, and a friend to the 
cause of science, freedom, and religion, throughout the world. 
The following extract from the diicourse delivered on the 
occasion of his interment, by the Rev. Dr. Samuel 8. Smith, 
will convey to the reader a just account of this distinguished 

*' Behold, my brethren, before your eyes, a most sensible 
and afiecting picture of the transitory nature of mortal things, 
in the remains of a man who bath tyeen long among the fore- 
most of his country for power, for wisdom, and for fortune; 
whose eloquence only wanted a theatre like AthenB, to have 
rivalled the Greek and the Roman fame ; and who, if what 
honours this young country can bestow, if many and great 
personal talents, could save man from the grave, would not 
thus have been lamented here by you. Behold there ' the 
end of all perfection.' 

" Young gentlemen, (the students of the college,) another 
of the hthen of learning and eloquence is gone. He went 


before in the Hine path in which yoa are now treading, and 
halh since long presided over, and helped to confirm the 
foutstepa of those who were here labouring np the hill of 
(cience and virtue. While you feel and deplore his loM at 
a guardian of your studies, and as a model upon which you 
might form yourselres for public life, let the memory of what 
he -mag exdte you to emulate his fame ; let the sight of what 
he is, teach yon that every thing human is marked with im- 

*■ At the bar he practised for many years with unrinHed 
repntalion and success. Strictly upright in his profemioD) 
he scorned to defend a cause that he knew to be unjust A 
friend to peace and to the happiness of mankind, he has often 
with great pains and attention reconciled contending parties, 
while he might fairly, by the rules of his profession, hare 
drawn from Uieir litigation no inconsiderable profit to him- 
self. Compassionate to the injured and distressed, he hath 
o^en protected the poor and helpless widow unrighteously 
robbed of her dower, hath heard her with patience, when 
many wealthier clients were waiting, and bath zealously pro- 
moted her interest, without the prospect of reward, unless he 
could prevail to have right done to her, and to provide her 
an easy competence for the rest of her days. 

" Early in Ms life, his merits recommended him to bis 
prince and to his country, under the late constitution, who 
called him to the first honours and trusts of the government 
In council he was vise and firm, but always prudent and mo- 
derate. Of this he govc a public and conspicuous instance, 
almost under your own observation, when a dangerous insur- 
rection in a neighbouring county had driven the attomeya 
from the bar, and seemed to set the laws at defiance. Whilst 
all men were divided betwixt rash and timid counsels, he 
only, with wisdom and firmness, seized the prudent mean, 
appeased the rioters, punished the ringleaders, and restored 
the laws to their regular course. 

"The office of a judge of the province, was never filled 
with more integrity and learning than it was by him, for 
several years before the revolution. Since that period, he 

aD 18" 


fafttfa npresented New-Jenejr in the congreH of the CiUte^ 
State*. But ■ declining health, and a constitution worn out 
with appUcstion and with eerrice, obliged hinii shortly after, 
to retire from the line of public duty, and hath at lengtlt 
dismiflsed him from the world. 

" In his prirale life, he was easy and graceful in his man- 
ners ; in his conrersatian, a&ble and entertaining, and mas- 
ter of a smooth and elegant style eren in his ordinary dis- 
course. As a man of letters, he possessed a superior genius, 
highly cultivated by long and assiduous application. His 
researches into the principles of morale and religion were 
deep and accurate, and his knowledge of the laws of his 
country extennve and profound. He was well acquainted 
with all the branches of polite learning; but he was particu- 
larly admired for a flowing and persuasive eloquence, by 
which he long governed in the courts of justice. 

" As a christian, you know thai, many years a member of 
this church, he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. 
Nor could the ridicule of licentious wits, nor the example of 
vice in power, tempt him to disguise the profession of it, or 
to decline from the practice of its virtues. He was, however, 
liberal in his reli^ous principles. Sensible, as became a 
philosopher, of the rights of prirate judgment, and of the 
difference in opinion that must necessarily arise from the 
variety of human intellects ; he was candid, as became a 
christian, to those who differed from him, where he observed 
their practice marked with virtue and piety. But if we follow 
him to the last scene of his life, and consider him tmder that 
severe and tedious disorder which put a period to it, there 
the sincerity of his piety, and the force of religion to sup- 
port the mind in the moat terrible conflicts, was chiefly visi- 
ble. For nearly two years he bore with the utmost constancy 
and patience, a disorder that makes us tremble only to think 
of it. With most exquisite pain it preyed upon him, until it 
reached the passages by which life is sustained: yet, in the 
midst of as much as human nature could endure, he always 
diacorered a aubmission to the will of heaven, and a reoignft- 



don to his fate, ibat could oaly flow from the expectation of 
a better life. 

" Such TU the m&n, whose remains now lie before ub, Io 
teach us the most interesting lessons that mprtvlftJUKCtO 

the school of Ha<ldington, for his great diligence and rapid 
literary attainments. In the theological hall, particularly, hs 


tion (o his fste, that could only floir from the expectation of 
a better life. 

" Such was the man, whose remains now lie before nsi to 
leach UB the most interesting lessons (hat mortals have to 
learnt th« rantty of human things; the importance of eter- 
nity ; the holiness of the divine law ; the value of religion ; 
and the certainty and rapid approach of death " 


JoBM WiTHERBFOoN, a man alike distinguished bb a mi< 
nister of the gospel, and a patriot of the revolution, was bom 
in the parish of Ycster, a few miles from Edinburgh, on the 
fith of February, 1722. lie was lineally descended from 
John Knox, the Scottish reformer, of whom Mary, queen of 
Scots, said, "she was more afraid of his prayers, than of an 
umy often thousand men." 

The father of Mr. Witherspoon was the minister of the 
parish of Yester. He was a man, eminent for his piety and 
iilerature, and for a habit of great accuracy in his writings 
tod discourses. The example of the lather contributed, in no 
Quail degree, to form in his son that love of taste and simpli- 
city, for which he was deservedly distinguished. 

He was sent, at an early age, to the public school at Had- 
dington, where he soon acquired a high reputation fur the na- 
tive soundness of his judgment, his close apphcation to study, 
and the quick and clear conceptions of his mind. Many, who 
at that time were the companions of his literary toils, after- 
wards filled some of the highest stations in the literary and 
political world. 

At the age of fourteen, he was removed to the university 
of Edinburgh. Here he was distinguished, as he had been at 
the school of Haddington, for his great diligence and rapid 
literary altaiimieats. In the theological hell, parUcularly, be 


exhiUted «n uncommon taste in ncred criticiflm, and mn lum* 
9ual precision of thought, and perspicuity of expreaiion. At 
the afe of twenty-one, he finished his coUegikle studies, and 
commenced preaching. 

Immediately on leaving the uniTcnity, he was invited to 
become the minister of Yester, bb coUeag;ue with his father, 
with the right of succeeding to the charge. He chose, rather, 
however, to accept an invitation from the parish of Beilh, in 
the west of Scotland, and here he was ordained and settled, 
by the unanimouB consent of his congregation. 

Soon ofter hb settlement at Beith, a circumstance occur- 
red of loo interesting a nature to be omitted. On the 17th of 
January, 1746, was fought the battle of Falkirk. Of this bat- 
tle. Dr. Witherspoon and several others were spectators. Un* 
fo-'nnately, they were taken prisoners by the rebels, and shut 
up in close confinement in the castle of Donne. In the same 
room in which he was confined, were two cells, in one of 
which were five members of a military company frAn Edin- 
burgh, who had also been taken prisoners, and two citizens 
of Aberdeen, who had been threatened to be hanged as spies. 
In the other cell were several others who had been made pri- 
soners, under circumstances similar to those of Dr. Wither- 

During the night which followed their imprisonment, the 
thonghts of the prisoners, who were able to communicate 
' wilh one another, were turned on the best means of mHk> 
ing their escape. The room where they were confined was 
the highest part of the castle, not far from the battlements, 
which were seventy feet high. It was proposed to form a 
rope of some blankets which they had purchased, and by 
means of this to descend from the battlements to the ground. 

A rope was accordingly made, in the best manner they 
were able, and about one o'clock in the morning they com- 
menced descending upon it. Four reached the ground in 
safety. Just as the fifth touched the ground the rope broke, 
about twenty feet above. This unfortunate occurrence wai 
communicated to those who remained on the battlements, and 
warning wss given to them not to attempt the hasardons d«- 

nun wtTBBKaFooir. nt 

seent In disregard, however, of the «dvice, the next one 
whose torn it wai to descend, immediately went down dM 
rope. On reaching the end of it, his comp&niona below per> 
Gciving him determined to let go his hold, put themselrea in 
• posture to break his bll. Tbey succeeded, however, onlf 
in part The poor fellow waa seriouHty injured, haring one 
of his anctea dialoc&ted, and sereral ribs broken. His com- 
panions, howerer, succeeded in conveying him to a Tillage on 
the borders of the sea, whence he was taken, by means of a 
boat, to a sloop of war lying in the harbour. 

The other rolunteer, and Dr. Witherspoon, were left be- 
hind. The volunteer now drew the rope up, and to the end 
of it sttached several blankets. Having made it sufficiently 
long, he again let it down and began his descent. He reached 
the place where the rope was originally broken, in safety ; 
but the blankets, which he had attached to it, being too large 
Tor him to span, like his predecessor, he fell, and was ao much 
wounded, that he afterwards died. The fate of these unhap- 
py men induced Dr. Witherspoon to relinquish the hope of 
escape in this way, and to wait for a safer mode of liberation. 

From Beith, Dr. Witherspoon was translated, in the course 
of a few years, to the flourishing town of Paisley, where he 
waa happy in the affections of a large congregation, among 
whom he was eminently useful, until the period of his emi- 
grating to America, to take charge, as president, of the col- 
lege of New- Jersey. 

The election of Dr. Witherspoon to the presidency of the 
above college, occurred in the year 1766. This appointment, 
however, he was induced to decline. In the first instance, from 
the reluctance of the female members of his family, and espe- 
cially of Mrs. Witherspoon, to leave the scene of their happi- 
ness and honour, for a land of strangers, and that land so dis- 
tant from her father's sepulchres. 

4t a subsequent period, however. Dr. Witherspoon again 
took the subject into consideration ; and at length, through the 
influence and representations of Mr. Stockton, of whom we 
have spoken in the preceding memoir, acceded tn the wishes 
of the trustees, in accepting the presidency of the college. Ii 

M4 KBW-JKsszT jnttniATioir. 

nflecis no Bma]l bononr upon Dr. Wtberapooiia QM be 
•hould consent to crosa th« ocean, and teke diargo of a col- 
lege in a new country, leariag behind him a sphere of great 
reapeclability, comfort, and uBefulness. Having prerionily 
declined, it is underatood, an urgent invitation to an hoDonra- 
lile station in Dublin, in Rotterdam, and in the town of Dos* 
dee, in his own country. It deserves also to be mentioned, 
that a little previous to lus embarking for America, and while 
sdll in a slate of suspense, respecting his duty, an unmarried 
gentleman of considerable fortune, and a relation of the 
family, offered to make him bis heir, provided he would remain 
in Scotland. 

Dr. Wilherspoon arrived in America in August, 1766, and 
in the seme month was inaugurated president of the college. 
The fame of his literary character caused en immediate ac- 
cession lo the number of students, and an increase of the 
funds of the college. At that time it had not been patronized 
by the state. It had been founded and supported by private 
liberality. At the period of Dr. Witherspoon's arrival, the 
finances of the college were in a low and decUning condition. 
His reputation, however, in connexion with his personal ex* 
ertiona, excited the generosity of all parts of the country, 
from Massachusetts to Virginia ; in consequence of which, 
the finances of the institution were soon raised to a flourishing 
state. During the war of the revolution, the college was 
broken up, and its resources nearly annihilated. Yet it cma 
scarcely be estimated how much the institution owed, at that 
time, to the enterprise and talents of Dr. Withertpoon. 

"But the principal advantages it derived," says Dr. Rogers, 
in a discourse occasioned by his death, " were from his litera- 
ture, his sup erin tendency, his example as a happy model 
of good writing, and from the tone and taste which he gave 
to the literary pursuits of the college." 

He made great alterations in every department of instruc- 
tion. " He endeavoured," says the same writer, "to establish 
the system of education in this institution, upon the most ex- 
tenidve and respectable basis, that its situation snd its finances 
would admit Formerly, the course of instruction had been 


too ntperficial : and its metaph^flics and philoiophy were too 
nraeh tinctured with the dry and nninslructiTe fonni of tho 
•ehools. This, however, was by no means to be imputed u 
a derect to those greht and excellent men who had presided 
orer the institution before him, but rather to the recent origin 
or the country, the imperfection of its stale of society, and 
to the state of literature in it. Since his presidency, me- 
thematiccl science has received an extension that was not 
known before in the American seminaries. He introduced 
into philosophy all the most liberal and modern improve- 
ments of Europe. He extended the philosophical course to 
embrace the general principles of policy and public low; he 
incorporated with it sound and rational metaphysics, equally 
Kmote from the doctrines of falaUly and contingency, from 
the barrenness and dogmatism of the schools, and from the 
excessive refinements of those contradictory, but equally im- 
pious sects of scepticism, who wholly deny the existence of 
matter, or maintain that nothing but matter exists in the 

" He laid the foundation of a course of history in the col- 
lege, and the principles of taste, and the rules of good wri- 
ting, were both happily explained by him, and exemplified in 
his manner." He possessed an admirable faculty for go- 
verning, and was very successful in exciting a good degree 
of emulation among the pupils committed to his care. Un 
iler his auspices, many were graduated, who became distin 
guished for their learning, and for the eminent services which 
they rendered their countrymen aa divines, es legislators, and 

On the occurrence of the American war, the college was 
broken up, as has already been noticed, and the officers nnd 
students were dispersed. Dr. Witherspoon now appeared in 
a new attitude before the American public. Although a fo 
reigner, he had laid aside his prejudices on becoming a citi- 
zen of the country, and now warmly espoused the cause of 
the Americana against the English ministry. His diatin- 
^iefaed abilities pointed him out to tlie citizens of New-Jcr- 
Ky> u one of the most proper delegates to that convention 


which fonned thrar republican constitatioii. In Ihia respect 
able Bssembly he appeared, to the aatoniahmeDt of all tho 
profeMon of the law, as profound a dvilian as he had before 
been linown to be a philoaopher and divine. 

Early in the year 1776, he waa elected a repreaentatire to 
the general congreu, by the people of New-Jeraey. He 
took hia aeat a few dayi previously to the fourth of July, and 
anisted in the deliberations on the momentous question of a 
fleclaration of independence. Of this measure he was an ad- 
vocate. It was a happy reply which he made to a gentleman 
who, in opposing the measure, declared (hat th^ country was 
not yet ripe for a declaration of independence. " Sir," said 
he, " in my judgment the country is not only ripe, but 

For the space of seven years. Dr. Witherspoon continued 
to represent the people of New-Jersey in the general con- 
gress, lie was seldom absent from bis seat, and never aU 
lowed personal considerations to prevent his attention to of- 
ficial duties. Few men acted with more energy and promp 
titude ; few appeared to be enriched with greater political 
irisitom ; few enjoyed a greater share of public confidence ; 
few accomplished more for the country, than he did, in (he 
sphere in which he was called to act In the most gloomy and 
formidable aspect of public afiairs, he was always firm, dis- 
covering llie greatest reach and presence of mind, in the most 
embarrassing Hitnations. 

It is impos«ible here to parlicularise all, or even a small 
part of the important services which be rendered his country, 
during his continuance in the grand legislative council. He 
nerved on numerous committees, where his judgment and ex- 
perience were of eminent importance. He aeldotn took part 
in the discussions of public measures, until, by reason and 
reflection, he had settled his ideas on the subject. He would 
then come forward with great clearness and power, and sel- 
dom did he fail to impart light to a subject, and cause even 
his opponents to hesitate. His speeches were usually com- 
posed in closeti and committed to memory. His memory was 


VBOnully tenacious. He could repeat rerbalim a Bennon, 
or a speech, composed by himself, by readiog it three times. 

Dr. Witherspoon, it must be admitted, w&b a sai^cious po- 
litician. He indeed adopted views which, in some respects, 
differed from those of his brethren in congress ; yet his prin- 
ciples have beenjustified by the result. A few examples may 
be mentioned. He constantly opposed the expensive moda 
of supplying the array by commission. For serenil yean 
this was the mode adopted. A certain commission per cenL 
on the money that the commissioners expended, was allowed 
them, as a compensatian. A strong temptation was thus pre- 
sented to purchase at extravagant prices, since the commis- 
sionen) correspondingly increased their compensation. 

In consequence of this mode of supplying the army, the 
expenses of the country became alarmingly great. Much 
dissatisfaction, from time to time, existed in reference to the 
management of the commissary general's department, and • 
reform was loudly demanded by many judicious men in tho 
country. Among those who loudly complained on this sub- 
ject, and who deemed a change essential to the salvation of 
the country. Dr. Witherspoon was one. This change, so 
naeful and economical, was at length agreed to, July lOlh, 
1781. The superintendent of finance was authorized to pro- 
cure all necessary supplies for the army and navy of the 
United States by contract, t. e. by allowing a certain sum to 
the purchaser for every ration furnished. 

Another point on which Dr. Witherspoon differed from 
many of hb brethren in congress, was the emission of a pa- 
per currency. After the first or second emission, he strongly 
opposed the. system, predicting the wound which would be 
ultimately given to pubjic credit, and the prirate distress 
which must neceasarily follow. Instead of emissions of an 
imfunded paper beyond a certain quantum. Dr. Witherspoon 
DTged the propriety of making loans and establishing funds 
for the payment of the interest. Happy had it been for the 
cotmtry, had this better policy been adopted. At a subse- 
quent date, at the instance of some of the very gentlemen 
irho opposed him in congreas, he published his ideas on Hit 
3E 19 

niture, Tslue, ind ines of roone^, in one of the moat clear 
tnd jndicioufl esuys thai perhaps tru ever written on the 

At the close of the year 1770, Dr. Witherspoon rolimlkri- 
)y retired from congreas, desirons of spending the remsindrr 
of his life, BB he said, in " otto aim dignttate." Accordinf- 
Ij, he resifsed his house in the vicinity of the college to hia 
son-in-Uw, the Rev. Dr. Samnel Smitii, to whom was com- 
mitted the care and instruction of the sttidentB, who now be- 
gan to return from their dispersion. Dr. Witherspoon retired 
to a country seat, at the diatance of about one mile from 
Princeton. His name, however, conlioned to add celebrity 
to the inslilution, which not long alter recovered its former 

But he was not long allowed the repose which be so much 
desired. In 17S1, he was again elected a representative to 
congress. But at the close of the following year, he retired 
from political life. Inlfaeyearl7S3,hewaa induced, through 
hia attachment to the institution over which he hod so long 
presided, to cross the ocean to promote its benefit. He was 
now in hie sixtieth year, and strong must Have been his re- 
gard for the interests of learning, to indace him, at this ad- 
vanced age, to brave the dangers of the ocean. Much suc- 
cess could scarcely be expected in an undertaking of U>is 
kind, considering the hoatilily which still subsisted between 
England and America. The pecuniary assistance which he 
obtained exceeded only, by a little, liis necessary expenses, 
although he was not wanting in enterprise and zea] in relation 
to the object of his voyage. 

After his return to this country, in 1784, finding nothing 
to obstruct his entering on thst retirement which was now 
becoming dear to him, he withdrew, in a great measure, ex- 
cept on some important occasions, from the exercise of those 
public functions that werrf not immediately connected with 
the duties of his office, as president of the college, or hia 
diaracler as a minister of the gospel. 

Although Dr. Witherspoon was peculiarly fitted for politi- 
cal Hfe, he appeared with stUl more advantage as t minisin 

JOBH wiTBkurooii. 919 

ot Ihe goipel, and particolarlf aa a minuter in Ihe pulpit 
** H« was, in many respects," says Dr. BogerSi " one of the 
beat models on which a young preacher could form himseU 
It was a singular felicity to the whole college, but especially 
to those who had the profession of the ministry in contempb- 
tioQ, to have such an example constantly in view. Religion, by. 
the manner in which it was treated by him, always commuH^ 
ed the mpect of those who heard him, even when it was not 
able to engage their hearts. An admirable textoary ; a pro- 
foond theologian, perspicuous and simple in his manner ; aa 
nnirersal scholar, acquainted with human nature ; a grav«, 
dignified, solemn speaker ; — he brought all the advantages 
derived from these sources, to the illustration and enforce- 
inent of divine truth." 

The social quali^es of Dr. Witherspoon rendered him on* 
of the moat companionable of men. He possessed a rich 
fond of anecdote, both amusing and iaBlructive. His mo- 
ments of relaxation were as entertaining as his serious ones 
were frtfught with improvement The following anecdote 
presents a specimen of his pleasantry. On the surrender of 
the British army to General Gates, at Saratoga, that officer 
dispatched one of his aids to convey the news lo congress. 
The interesting character of the intelligence would hava 
pmmpted most men to have made as expeditious a journey aa 
possible ; but the aid proceeded so leisurely, that the intelli- 
gence reached Philadelphia three days before his arrival. It 
wae uBoal for congress, on such occasions, to bestow some 
mark of their esteem upon the person who was the bearer of 
intelligence so grateful ; and it was proposed, in this case, to 
best w upon the messenger an elegant sword. During the 
conversation on this subject in the ball, Dr. Witherspoon 
rose, and begged leave to amend the moUon, by substituting 
br an elegant sword, a pair of golden spurs. 

Another interesting trait ib his character, was his attention 
to young persons. He never suffered an opportunity to es- 
cape him of imparting the most useful advice to them, ac- 
carding to their circumstances, when they happened to ba m 
hia campany. And thb was always done with so mucUM^^k 


neas tnd niavity, that they codH oeithei be iruttentire to U 
or eaeilf forget it. 

In domestic life, he iras an afiectionate husband, a tender 
parent, a kind maater, and a aincere friend. He was twice 
mariied. The first time in Scotland, at an early age, to a 
lady by the name of Montgomery. She was a woman di^ 
tinguiahed for her piety and benefolence. At the time of hia 
emigration to America, he had three sons and two daughters. 
Jamea, his eldestson, waa killed in the battle of Germantown. 
Jo^n wag bred a physician, and Darid appUed himaelf to the 
atudy of the law. Both were respectable men. Of the 
d nghters, one was married to the Rot. Samuel S. Smith, 
the successor of Dr. Witherspoon in the presidency of 
the college. The other became connected with Dr. Ramsay, 
the celebrated hiatorian. The setiond marriage of Dr. With- 
erspoon occurred when he was seventy years old ; the hidy 
whom he married was only twenty-three. 

la hie person, Dr. Witherspoon was remarkably dignified. 
He was sis feet in height, and of fine proportion. He waa 
distinguished for a fervent piety, and for great punctuality 
and exactness in his devotional eiercisea. " Besides hia 
daily devotions of the closet, and the family, it was hia stated 
practice to obserre the last day of erery year, with his lamily, 
as a day of fasting, htuniliation, and prayer: and it was also 
his practice to set apart days for secret fasting and prayer, at 
occasion suggested." 

" Bodily infirmities began at length to come upon him. For 
more than two years before his death, he was afflicted with 
the loss of sight, which contribnted to hasten the progress 
of his other disorders. Theje he bore with a patience, and 
even with a cheerfulness, rarely to be met with in the most 
eminent for wisdom and piety. Nor would his active mind, 
and his desire of usefulness to the end, permit him, even in 
tliis situation, to desist from the exercise of his ministry, and 
ais duties in the college, as far as his strength and health 
would admit He was frequently led into the pulpit, both at 
home and abroad, during hia btindnesa ; and always acquitted 

JOBM wiTHnspooir. ttl' 

himself with his usual accuracy, and freqnentlj with mortt 
than his usual solemnity and animation." 

At length, however, he sank under the accumulated pres- 
sure of his infirmities ; and on the 16th day of November, 17M» 
in the seventy-third year of his age he retired to his final rest 
The following epitaph is inscribed on the mArble which covers 
bis remains : 

Beneath this marble lie interred 

the mortal remains of 


a venerable and beloved President of the College of 


He was bom in the parish of Tester, in Scotland, 

on the 6th of February, 1722, O. & 

And was liberally educated in the Univeraity of Edinburgh, 

invested with holy orders in the year 1743^ 

he faithfully performed the duties of 

his pastoral charge, 

during five and twenty years, 

first at Bcith, and then at Paisley. 

Elected president of Nassau Hall, 

he assumed the duties of that office on the 13th of August, 1768^ 

with the elevated expectations of the public. 

Ebccelling in every mental gift, 

ho was a man of pre-eminent piety and virtue 

and deeply versed in the various branches 

of literature and the liberal arts. 

A grave and solemn preacher, 

bis sermons abounded in the most excellent doctrines and pnoegitf 

and in lucid expoeitions of the Holy Scr^ures. 

AflaUe, pleasant, and courteous in OEuniliar conversationi 

he was eminently distinguished 

in concerns and deliberations of the church, 

and endowed with the greatest prudence 

in the management and instruction of youth. 

He exalted 

the reputation of the college amongst foreigners, 

and greatly promoted the advancement 

of its literary character and taste. 

He was, lor a long time, conspicuous 

4mrtng the most brilliant luminaries of learning and of the Church. 

At length, 

universally venerated, beloved, and lamented, 

he departed this life on the fifteenth of November, MDCCXCIV. 




Framois Hofkinson was a native of Peniuylraniat and 
vsB bom in the city of Philadelphia, in the year 1737. Hia 
fether, Thomas Hopkineon, was an Englishman, who emigra- 
ted to America, but in what year is unknown to the writer. 
A short time previous to his emigration, he became respecta- 
bly connected by marriage, with a niece of the bishopof Wor- 

On his arrlral in America, he took up hia residence in the 
dly of Philadelphia, where he honourably filled several office* 
of distinction, under the government of bis native country. 
Mr. Hopkinson was distinguished for his scientilic attainments. 
He was intimate with that distinguished philosopher, Benja- 
min Franklin, by whom he was held in high es^mation. The 
intimacy which subsisted between these gentlemen, seems to 
have arisen from a similarity of taste, particularly on philoso- 
phical subjects. To Mr. Hopkinson is attributed the first ex- 
periment of attracting the electric fluid, by means of s 
pointed instrument, instead of a blunt one. This experiment 
he bad the pleasure of first exhibiting to Dr. Franklin. Its 
practical importance conaisied in preventing the severe explo- 
sion, which always takes place in the passage of the electric 
HaiA, upon a blunted instrument. 

Upon the death of Mr. Hopkinson, which occurred while 
he was in the prime of life, the care of his interesting and 
numerous family devolved upon his widow. Fortunately, 
Mrs. Hopkinson was a lady of superior mental endowments, 
and well qualified to superintend the education of her child- 
ren. At an early period, discovering indications of genius in 
her son, the subject of the present memoir, she resolved to 
make every sacrifice, and every effort in her power, to giv« 
him the advantages of ■ superior education. Her income 
was compsrvtively limited, but a mother can relinquish every 
enjoyment for her children. This Mrs. Hopkinson did with 
the greatest pleasure; and to the practice of self-denial for her 
SOD, she added, for his benefit, tba most admirable precepu, 

nuRow Mommoir. . 3S3 

and the moit excellent example. Her efforts were crowneil 
with Bmgular succeM. She lived to see him graduate with repn- 
tation, from the college of Philadelphia, and become emioent 
in the profeasioD of law. He poueased talenU of a high or- 
der. Hia geniuB was quick and versatile. He penetrated the 
depths of science with eaae, and with grave and important 
truths stored his capacions mind. But he by no means ne- 
glected the lighter accomplishments. In music and poetry ba- 
excelled, and had some knowledge of painting. Few men' 
were more distinguished for their humonr and satire. 

In the year 1706, Mr. Hopkinaon emharked for England, 
for the purpose of visiting the land of hi^ fathers. Such was 
the estimation in which he was held in his native dty, that he 
received a public expression of respect and affection, from 
the board of trustees of the college of Philadelphia, which the 
provost of that inslilution was desired to communicate to 
him, and wish him, in the behalf of his Alma Mater, a safe 
■nd prosperous voyage. 

After a residence of more than two years in England, he re- 
turned to America, soon afler which he became settled in lifet 
having married a Miss Borden, of Bordentown, in the state 
of New-Jersey. His acknowledged talents soon drew the aU 
lention of the royal government, under which he received the 
appointment of collector of the customs, and executive coun- 

These offices, however, he did not long enjoy, l)eing obli- 
ged to sacrifice them in the cause of his country. He entered 
with strong feelings into the public measures which preceded 
the revolutionary contest, and having taken up his residence 
in New-Jersey, his abilities and patriotism pointed him out 
as a proper person to represent her in congress. According- 
ly, in the year 1776 he received this appointment, and in this 
capacity he voted for the declaration of independence, and 
subsequently affixed his signature to the engrossed copy ol 
that memorable instrument. 

On the retirement of Mr. Ross, in 1779, the judge of the 
admiralty court of Pennsylvania, the president of that state 
nominated Hr. Hopkinson as his successor; an office to 


which he ma nnanimoUBly appointed, mnd th« duties of 
which, for ten yean, until the organiiation of the fedei&l 
gorernment, he continaed to discharge with honour to him- 
oelC and benefit to his country. 

Soon after the adoption of the federal constttDtioD, General 
Washington, with the adrice and consent of the senate, ap- 
pointed Mr. Hoplcinaon to the office of Judge of the United 
States, for the district of Fennsylvania. This was an impor- 
tant and dignified statioD, for which he was admirably fitted, 
and in which capacity he assisted in giring stability and dig- 
ni^ to the national gorernment 

During the period of his judicial career, he conscientioiisly 
BToided mingling in party, or occasional politics. He em- 
ployed his powers, however, when occasion required, in pro- 
moting the public good. He contributed in no small degree 
in rousing the feelings of the people, during the war of the 
revolution. The chief means by which he accomplished this, 
was the employment of his powers of satire, which he pos- 
sessed in an uncommon degree. His occasional productions 
were quite numerous, and were well adapted to the slate of 
the country at that time. They rendered the author justly 
jiopular at that day, and will continue to interest and amuse, 
while the memory of these times shall remain. 

Mr. Hopkinson published several poetical pieces. His chief 
merit as a poet consisted in an easy TcraiH cation. His poeti- 
cal productions were chiefly designed lu amuse. This object 
they effected. They attracted no small attention, through- 
ont the country ; but none was more popular than the humo- 
rous and well known ballad, railed "The Battle of the Kegs.** 

The life of Mr. Hopkinson was suddenly terminated, 
while in the midst of his usefulness, on the eighth of May, 1791, 
in the fiily-lhird year of his age. He died of an apoplectic 
fit, which, in two hours after the attack, put a period to his 
mortal existence. In stature, Mr. Hopkinson was below the 
common size. His countenance was extremely animated, 
though hia features were small. In speech he was fluent* 
and in his motions he was unusually quick. Few men wera 
kinder in their dispositions, or more benevolent in their livea 

He ma diatiiigiiuihed for his powers of lute, and for hii love 
and devotion to science. He posiessed alibrarjr, which con- 
tained the most distingaiahed literary prodnctions of the 
times ; and in his library room was to be found a collection 
of icientiGc apparatus, with which he amused himself in his 
leisnre hours, and added greatly to his stock of linowledge. 
The following anecdote fumishea evidence of the estimation 
in which he was held, as a philosopher, and a man of letters. 
Sometime during the revolutionary war, Bordcnlown, the 
place where Mr. Hopkinson and family resided, was suddenly 
invaded by a party of Hessians. The family had hardly time 
to escape before the invaders began the plunder of the house. 
After the evacuation of Philadelphia, by the British, a vo- 
lume, which had been taken from the library of Mr. Hopkin- 
son, at the above period, fell into tiis hands. On s blank leaf, 
the officer, who took the book, had written in German an 
acknowledgment of the theft, declaring that although he 
believed Mr. Hopkinson to be an obstinate rebel, the books 
and philosophical apparatus of his library were sufficient evi- 
dence, that he was a leBrned man. 

Mr. Hopkinson, at his decease, left a widow and five chil- 
dren. The eldest of these, Joseph Hopkinson, who still lives, 
strongly resembles his father, in the endowments of hie mind, 
ud the brilliancy of his genius. He occupies an enviable 
rank among the advocates of the American bar. 


Tbe hiatory of the world probably furnishes not another 
inttance in which there was a nobler exhibition of true patri- 
otism, than is presented in the history of the American revo- 
lution. It was certain at its commencement, in respect to 
I individuals, whose talents, wisdom and enterprise 
y to its success, that they could derive but little, 

■t xxv-JBanx dkuoatiom. 

if any, indiridoal sdrantage. Nay, it wu certain, that in 
•tcftd of gain thef would be aubjected to great lou uul Buffer- 
ing. Tha comforts of thoir fimuliea would be abridged ; their 
property deatrojed ; their fknns desolated; their houses {Sun- 
dered or conanmed ; their eons might fall in the field of battle ; 
and, should iheatruggle be iga(»i)iiuoaa death would be 
their portion. But, then, the contest respected rights which 
God hod given them ; it respected liberty, that dearest and 
noblest privilege of man ; it respected the happiness of gene- 
ntions yet to succeed each other on this spacious continent 
to the end of time. Such considerations influenced the pa< 
triots of the revolution. They thought comparatively little 
of themselves ; their views were fixed on the happiness of 
others t on the future glory of their country ; on universal 
Kberty ! 

These sentiments alone could have actuated John Habt, the 
subject of the present memoir, a worthy and independent 
farmer of New-Jersey. He was the son of Edward Hart, of 
Hopewell, in the county of Hunterdon, in New-Jersey. The 
time of hig birth is unknown to the writer ; and unfortunate- 
ly few incidents of his hfe have been preserved. He inherited 
from his father a considerable ptLtrimoniat estate. To this he 
added, by purchase, a farm of about four hundred acres. He 
married a Miss Scudder, a respectable and amiable lady, by 
whom he had a numerous family of children. He was fond ol 
agricultural pursuits; and in the quiet of domestic life, sought 
those enjoyments, which are among the purest which the 
world affords. 

The character which Mr. Hart sustained for wisdom, sta- 
bility, and judgment naturally brought him into notice, and 
disposed the community to seek the aid of his counsel. He 
was often a member of the colonial assembly ; and rendered 
important service to the section of country in which he re- 
aided, by suggesting improvements as to laying out new roads, 
the erection of bridges, the superior means of education, and 
the prompt administration of justice. 

At the commencement of the aggressions of the British 
miniatiy upon the rights of the coloniea, Mr. Hart perceivetl. 

in common with many of the thinking; men of the d&y, that 
the only alternatire of the Utter Toald be & reeort to arms, 
or absolute alaTerj. Although he waa not one of the moat 
xealona men, or an easily rouaed to adopt strong meaaurea, aa 
were some of those around him, still he was not backward to 
express his abhorrence of the unjust conduct of the mother 
country, nor to enter upon a well matured system of opposi- 
tion to her designs. He was particularly disgusted with the 
stamp act. Not that he feared pecuniary loss from its exec 
tlons ; it was an inconsiderable tax ; but trifling as it was, in 
rolred a principle of the greatest importance. It gave to thr 
crown a power over the colonies, against the arbilrary exer- 
cise of which they Imrl no security. They had in truth, upon 
the principles claimed by the Bri^ah government, little or no 
control over their own property. It might be taxed in the 
manner, and to the extent, which parliament pleased, and not 
a single representative from the colonies conid raiae his voicv 
in their behalf. It was not strange, therefore, that the setting 
up of such a claim, on the other side of the water, should have 
been ecvcrely felt in the American colonies, and that a spirit 
of opposition should have pervaded all classes, as we" the 
bumble as the elevated, the farmer in his retirement as well 
as the statesman in his public life. 

This Bpifit of oppositiun in the colonies kept pace with the 
spirit of aggression in the mother country. There were few 
men in the community, who did not feel more intensely each 
succeeding month the magnitude of the subject ; and who 
were not more and more convinced of the necessity of an 
united and firm opposition to the British government. 

When the congress of 1774 assembled, Mr. Hart appeared, 
and took his seat ; having been elected by a conference o' 
committees from several parts of the colony. The precise 
share which he took in the deliberations of this august and 
venerable body, is unknown. If his habits and unambitious 
spirit led him to act a less conspicuous part than some others, 
he rendered perhaps no less valuable service, by his modera- 
tion and cool judgment. 

During aereral Bucceeding sesaioni, Mr. Hart continned to 


represent the people of New-Jeraey in the conUnental con 
grau. When the questioa respecting ■ Declaration of lodti- 
pendeace was brought forward, he vai at hie post, and roted 
for the measure with unusual zeal. It was a distinguithed 
honour to belong to tbia congreasi under any circumstances ; 
but the appointment of Mr. Hart must have been peculiarly 
flattering to him. A little time previaua, the provincial con- 
gress of New-Jersey had made several changes in their delega- 
tion to the general congress. Their confidence was not entire 
insome of their reprcsenlatiTes, especially in regard to that bold 
and decisive measure, a declaiuion of independence, which 
was now occupying the thoughts of many in the country. But 
the firmness of Mr. Hart, or, as he was afterwards called, 
" honest John Hart," they could safely trust They knew 
him to he a man of tried courage, and never inclined to adopt 
temporizing or timnrouB measures. He was accordingly re* 
tained, while others were dismissed; and was instructed, " to 
join with the delegates of the other colonies in continental 
congress, in the most vigorous measures fur supporting the 
just righia and liberties of America ; and if you shall judge it 
necessary or expedient for this purpose, to join with them in 
declaring the United Colonies independent of Great Britain, 
entering into a confederation for union and common defence, 
making trcaiiea with foreign nations for commerce and assist- 
ance, and to lake such other measures as may appear to them 
and you necessary for those great ends, promising to support 
them with ttie whole force of this province; always observing, 
that whatsoever plan of confederacy you enter into, the regu- 
lating the inlerual police of this province is to be reserved to 
the colonial legislature." 

Sometime during the latter part of the year 1776, New-Jer> 
tey became the theatre of war. The distress which the peo- 
ple suffered in consequence, was very great ; and a wanton 
destruction of properly was often occasioned by the enemy. 
In this destruction, the property of Mr. Hart largely partici- 
pated. His children were obliged to flee, his farm was pil- 
laged, and great exertions were made to secure him, u a 
prison ir. The situation of Mrs. Hart was at the time peciir 
liarly distressing. She was afflicted with a disease, which 

prerented her removal to > place of tafetjr, and erentii- 
allf caused her death. Mr. Hart continued bjr her ride, 
until the enemy had nearly reached the houae, when he mada 
his escape, his wife being safer alone than if he vrere present 
For some time, he wns hunted and punned with the most un 
tiring xeal. He was scarcely able to elude his enemies, was 
often in great want of food, and sometimes destitute of a com- 
fortable lodging for the night. In one instance, he was 
obliged to conceal himself, during the night, in the usual rest- 
ing place of a large dog, who was his companion for the lime. 

The battles of Trenton and Princeton led to the eracua- 
tion of New-Jersey by the British. On this event, Mr. Hart 
again collected his family, and began to repair the desolation 
of his farm by the hnnd of the enemy. His constitntion, faow- 
erer, had received an irreparable shock. His heal^ gradual- 
ly failed him ; and though he lived to see brighter prospects 
opening hefore his country, he died before the contest was 
ended. His death occurred in the yenr 1180. Although the 
domestic peace and tranquillity of few men had been more 
disturbed than those of Mr. Hart, he never repented the course 
he had taken. He enliited himself in a good cause ; and in the 
darkest periods, stiil believed that a righteous Providence would 
ultimately enable that cause to prevail, and finally to triumph. 

The personal appearance of Mr. Hart was uncommonly in- 
teresting ; in his form he was straight and well proportioned. 
In stature, he was above the middling size, and, when a young 
man, was said to have been handsome. In his disposition 
he was uncommonly mild and amiable. He was greatly be- 
lored by his family and friends, and highly respected by a 
hrge circle of acquaintance, who often appealed to his wis- 
dom and judgment in the settlement of their local aflairs. In 
addition to this, he enjoyed the reputation of being a sincere 
and humble christian. He was exceedingly liberal to the 
Baptist church of Hopewell, lo which community he belonged ; 
and greatly assisted them in the erection of a public honse of 
worship; the ground for which he presented to the chnr(.h, 
U also the ground for a burial place. Such was the life, and 
wuh the lost end, of " honest John Hut* 


It is nnfortunatel^ the bet, in respect to inuiy of th« dis- 
tinguished acton in the reTolntionuy diuna, but eapedally 
in refereoce to the subject of this raemoifi thkt but few ind- 
denta of their lives have been preserved. The truth is, that 
although men of exalted patriotism, who filled their respec- 
tive duties, both in public and private life, with great honour 
to themselves and benefit to all around them, they were 
naturally unobtrusive and unambitious. The incidents of iheir 
lives were, indeed, few. Some of them lived in retirement, 
pursuing the " even tenor of their way," nor was the regularity 
oftheirlivesoften interrupted, except, perhaps, by an atten- 
dance upon congress, or by the discharge of some minor civil 
office in the community. 

These remarks apply with some justice to Mr. Clabk, 
but perhaps not with more force, than to several others, who 
stand enrolled among the signers of the declaration of inde- 

Mr. Clark was » native of Elizabelhtown, New-Jersey, 
where he was bom, on the fifteenth of February, 1728. His 
father's name was Thomas Clark, of whom he was an only 
child. His early education, although confined to English 
branches of study, was respectable. For the m&thematica and 
the civil law he is said to have discovered an early predilec 

He was bred a fermer; but his constitution being inade 
quate to the labours of the field, he turned his attention 
to surveying, conveyancing, and imparting legal adricc 
For this last service he was well qualified ; and as he 
gave advice gratuitously, he was called, "the poor man's 

The course of Mr. Clark's life, bis love of study, and the 
generosity of his character, naturally rendered him poptt> 
lar. Bis opinion was valued, and oflcn sought, even beyond 
the immediate circle within which he lived. He was call- 
ed to £11 rarious respectable offices, the duties of which 


he discharged with great fidelity ; and thus rendered him- 
self highly useful in the community in which he lived. 

At an early period of the rerolutiout as he had formed his 
opinion on the great question, which divided the British go- 
Temment and the American colonies, he was appointed one 
of the committee of public safety ; and some time after was 
elected by the provincial congress, in conjunction with the gen- 
tlemen, a sketch of whose lives has already been given, a dele- 
gate to the continental congress. 

Of this body he was a member, for a considerable period ; 
and was conspicuous among his colleagues from New-Jersey. 
A few days after he took his seat for the first time, as a mem- 
ber of congress, he was called upon to vote for, or against, the 
proclamation of independence. But he was at no loss on • 
which side to throw his influence. His patriotism was of the 
purest character. Personal considerations did not influence 
his decision. He knew full well that fortune and individual 
safety were at stake. But what were these in comparison 
with the honour and liberty of his country. He voted, there- 
fore, for the declaration of independence, and affixed his 
name to that sacred instrument with a firm determination to 
meet the consequences of the noble, but dangerous action, 
with a fortitude and resolution becoming a free bom citizen 
of America. 

Mr. Clark frequently, after this time, represented New- 
Jersey in the national councils. He was also often a 
member of the state legislature. But in whatever capacity 
he acted as a public servant, he attracted the respect and ad- 
miration of the community, by his punctuality, his integrity, 
and perseverance. 

In 1787, he was elected a member of the general con- 
vention, which framed the constitution ; but in consequence 
of ill health, was prevented from uniting in the deliberations 
of that body. To the constitution, as originally proposed, 
he had serious objections, lliese, however, were removed 
by subsequent amendments ; but his enemies took advan* 
tage of his objections, and for a time he was placed in 
the minority in the elections of New-Jersey. His popu- 


hrit}', however, again revived, and he wai eledcG a re- 
prcKiitadve in the lecond eongreM, under the federal con- 
■dtution ; an appointment which he eoniinned to hold nntil 
a ehort time prerioni to hu death. Two or three of the 
eons of Mr. Clerk were officers in the army, during Uie re- 
volutionaiy struggle. Unfortunately they were captured by 
the enemy. During a part of their captivity, their Buffer- 
ing! were extreme, being confined in the notorioiu prison- 
ship, Jersey. Painful as (he condition of his sons was, 
Mr. Clark scrupulously avoided calling the attention of 
congress to the subject, excepting in a single instance. 
One of his sons, a captain of artillery, had been cast into a 
dungeon, where he received no other food than that which 
was conveyed to him by his fellow prisoners, through a key 
hole. On a representation of these facts to congress, that 
body immediately directed a course of retaliation in re.^ect 
to a British officer. This had the desired effect, and Captain 
Clark's condition was improved. 

On the adjournment of congress in June, 1794, Mr. Clark 
finally retired from public life. He did not live long, how- 
ever, to enjoy even the limited comforts he possessed. In the 
autumn of the same year a stroke of the sun put a period to 
his mortal existence, in the fipace of two hours. He was al- 
ready, however, an old man, having attained to his sixty- 
ninth year. The church yard at Rahway contains his mor- 
tal remains, and the church of that place will long have rea- 
son to remember bis benefactions. A marble slab marks the 
place where this useful and excellent man lies deposited, and 
the following inscription upon it, records the distinguish- 
ed traits of his character : 

Firm and decided m a patriot, 

kbIot* and failhTul u a friend to the public, 

be bved his counlrj, 

and adhered to her caoae 

ia tlw du-kcrt boun of ber atniggla 

■gainil opprenion. 

VEinssYijTANiA de:li:c}Atiox. 

Robert Mob rib, 
Benjamin Rdbh, 
Benjamin Franklin, 
John Morton, 
GsooE Cltheb, 
Jaheb Smith, 
Georoe Taylor, 
Jameb Wilson, 
Georob Rohi. 


Robert Mokrib wbb a native of Lancaahire, England, 
vhere he was bom JinuBiy, 1773 — 4, 0. S. Hia father 
was a Liverpool merchant, who hail for some yean been ex- 
tensively concerned in the American trade. While he vnt 
yet a boy, his father remaveil to America ; shortly after 
vhich, he sent to England for his aon, who arrived id (his 
country at the age of thirteen yeara. 

Young Morris was placed at school in Philadelphia, bnl 
his progreaa in learning appeera to have been small, probably 
from the incompetency of his teacher, as he declared to his 
father one day, on the latter expressing his dissatisfaction at 
the little progreaa he made, " Sir," said he, " I have learn- 
ed all that he can teach me." 

"During the time (hat young Morris was purBuing fati 





education at Philadelphia, he uafortnuatelf lost hb father, in 
consequence of a wonnd received from the wad of a gun, 
which waa discharged as a compliment, by the captain of a 
■hip const^ed to him, that had just arrived at Oxford, the 
place of hia reridence, on the eastern shoree of the Oieaa- 
peske Bay, and was thus left an orphan, at the age of fifteen 
years. In conformity to the intentions of his parent, he was 
bred to commerce, and served a regular apprenticeship in 
the counting-house of the late Mr. Charles Willing, at that 
time one of the first merchants of Philadelphia. A year or 
two after the expiration of the term for which he had engaged 
himself, he entered into partnership with Mr. Thomas Vfil- 
ling. This connexion, which was formed in 1751, continued 
for the long period of thirty-nine years, not having been dis- 
solved until 1703. Previously to the commencement of the 
American war, it was, witliout doubt, more extensively en- 
gaged in commerce than any other house in Philadelphia. 

" Of ihe events of his youth we know little. The fact just 
mentioned proves, that although early deprived of the benefit 
of parental counsel, he acted with fidelity, and gained the 
good will of a discerning master. The following anecdote 
will show his early activity in business, and anxiety to pro- 
mote the interests of his friends. During the absence of Mr. 
Willing, at his country place, near Frankford, a vessel ar- 
rived at Philadelphia, either consigned to him, or that brought 
letters, giving intelligence of the sudden rise in the price of 
flour, at the port she left. Mr. Morris instantly engaged all 
that he could contract for, on account of Mr. Willing, who, on 
his return to the city next day, had to defend his young friend 
from the complaints of some merchants, that he had raised 
the price of flour. An appeal, however, from Mr. Willing, 
to their own probable line of conduct, in case of their having 
first received the news, silenced their complaints." 

There were few men who viewed with greater indignation 
the encroachments of the British government upon the liber* 
riea of the people, or were more ready to resist them, than 
Mr. Morris. Nor did he hesitate to sacrifice his private in- 
terest for the pnblic good, when occasion demanded iL Thu 


dbpontion wu strikiagljr manifeated in the year 1766, at 
wfaich time he signed the non-importation agreement, entered 
into by the merchants of FhiiadelphiB. The extensiTe mer- 
eantik concerns with England of the house of Mr. Morrii, 
and the large importations of her manufactures and colonial 
produce hy it, must have made this sacrifice considerable- 

The massacre at Lexington, April, 1775, seems to have de- 
dded the mind of Mr. Morris, as to the unalterable course 
which he would adopt in respect to England. The news of 
this measnre reached Philadelphia four days after its occur- 
rence. Robert Morris, with a large company, were at this 
time engaged at the city tavern, in the celebration, on George's 
day, of their patron saint. The news was received by the 
company with the greatest surprise. The tables, at which 
they were dining, were immediately deserted. A few only 
of the members, among whom was Mr. Morris, remained. 
To these, indeed to all, who had been present, it was evident 
that the die was cast — that the Lexington measure was an 
event which must lead to a final separation from the British 
government. Such an opinion Mr. Morris, at this time, ex- 
pressed ; he was willing it should take place, and from this 
time cordially entered into all the measures which seemed 
the most likely to effecl the object 

On the third of November, 1775, Mr. Morns was elected, 
by the legislature of Pennsylvania, a delegate to the second 
congress that met at Philadelphia. " A few weeks after he 
had taken his seat, he was added to the secret committee of 
that body, which had been formed by a resolve of the pre- 
ceding congress, (1775,) and whose duty it was ' to contract 
for the importation of arms, ammunition, sulphur, and salt- 
petre, and to export produce on the public account, to pay 
for the same.' He was also appointed a member of the com- 
mittee for fitting out a naval armament, and specially com- 
missioned to negociale bills of exchange for congress ; to 
borrow money for the marine committee, and to manage the 
fiscal concerns of congress on other occasions. Independ- 
ently of his enthusiastic zeal in the cause of his country, hia 
fiUpaeity for business, and knowledge of the subjects com* 


Botcf constituted, for large trantactioiu, part of th« drcnh- 
ting medium. Many other similu- inatancea occurred of thb 
patriotic interpoBition of hia own penonal reapongilnlity for 
tnppliee which could not otherwiBO have been obtained. 

AlluBion has been made abore to the gloomy poatnre of 
affairs, during the year 1780 ; at this time the wants of the 
mnay, particularly of prorisiona, were so great, aa to threaten 
ita dissolution. This tftate of thinga, being communicated 
to Mr. Morris, he immediately proposed the eatablishment 
of a Bank, the principal object of which was, to supply the 
army with prorisions. This plan becoming popular, ninety- 
aix aubacrihers gave their bonds, on this occasion, by which 
they obliged themselTea to pay, if it should become neces- 
sary, in gold and silrer, the amounts annexed to their names, 
to fulfil the engagements of the Bank. By this means, the 
confidence of the. public in the safety of the bank was con- 

Mr. Morris headed the list with a subscription of 10,0001. ; 
others followed to the amount of 300,0001. The directors 
were authorized to borrow money on the credit of the bank, 
and to grant special notes, bearing interest at six per cent. 
The credit thus given to the bank effected the object in- 
tended, and the institution was continued until the bank of 
North America went into operation in the succeeding year. 
It was probably on this occasion, that he purchased the four 
or fire thousand barrels of flour, aboTemeniioned, on his own 
credit, for the army, before the funds could be collected to 
pay for it." 

We hare not yet apoken of the congressional career of 
Mr. Morris, nor is it necessary to delay the reader by a mi- 
nute account of the services which he rendered the country, 
in the national assembly. .In this capacity, no one exhibited 
a more untiringzcal, none more cheerfully sacrificed ease and 
comfort than he did. He accompUshed much by his actire 
exertions, and perhaps not less by the confidence which he 
uniformly manifested of ultimate success. The display of 
euch confidence powerfully tended to rouse the despondingt 
to fix the wareiing, and confirm the brare. 

la aooAer way, Mr. Morm contributed to mdvsnce tho 
jMtriotiG caiue. During the whole war, he meiDtaiiied en 
liziensive private correspoodence with gentlemeD in England 
by means of which he often receired iaformation of impor- 
tance to this country. "These letters he read to a few aeleet 
mercantile friends, who regularly met in the insurance room 
at the merchant's coffee house, and through them the intel- 
ligence they contained waa diffused among the citiieus, and 
thus kept alire the spirit of opposition, made them acquaint- 
ed with the gradual progress of hostile moTemento, and con- 
vinced them how little was to be expected from the gOTera- 
ment in respect to the alleriBtioD of the oppression and hard- 
ships against which the colonies had for a long lime most 
humbly, earnestly, and eloquently remonstrated. This prac- 
tice, which began previoua to the Buspeasion of the inter- 
eourse between the two countries, he continued during the - 
war; and through the route of the continent, especially 
France and Holland, he received for a while the despatches, 
which had formerly come directly from England." 

In the year 1781, Mr. Morris was appointed by congress, 
superintendant of finance, an office then for the first time 
established. This appointment was unanimous. Indeed it 
is highly probable that no other man in the country would 
Iiave been competent to the task of managing such great 
Uinceme as it involved, or possessed, like himself, the happy 
expedient of raising supplies, or deservedly enjoyed more, 
if equal, public confidence among his fellow-citizens, for 
punctuality in the fulfilment of his engagements. 

Some idea may be formed of them, when it is known thai 
he was required to examine into the state of the public debts, 
expenditures, and revenue ; to digest and report plans for 
improvitig and regulating the finances; and for establishing 
order and economy in the expenditure of public money. To 
him waa likewise committed the disposition, management, 
and disbursement of all the loana received from the govern* 
meot of France, and various private persons in that country 
and Holland ; the soma of money received from the different 
aUtes i and of the public funds for every possible ooarce of 


mpense for the support of g^oremmenti civil, miliUiy, antl 
iMTal ; lh« procuring lupplies of erery description for Ibe 
umy and dbt; ; the entire management and direction of the 
public ships of war; the payment of all foreign debts ; and 
the correspoDdence of our ministers at European courts, on 
subjects of finance. In short, the whole burden of the money 
operations of goTemment was laid upon him. No man erer 
had more numerous concerns committed to his charge, and 
few to greater amount ; and nerer did any one more faithful- 
ly discharge the Tsrious complicated trusts with greater dis- 
patch, economy, or credit, than the subject of this sketch." 

Nerer was an appointment more judicious than the ap- 
pointment of Mr. Morris as financier of this coantry. At 
this time the treasury was more than two millions and a half 
in arrears, and the greater part of the debt was of such a 
nature that the payment could not be avoided, or eren de- 
layed, and therefore. Dr. Franklin, then our minister in 
France, was under the necessity of ordering back from Am- 
sterdam monies which had been sent thither for the purpoM 
of being shipped to America. If he had not taken this step, 
the bills of exchange drawn by order of congress must have 
been protested, and a vital slab given to the credit of the go- 
vernment in Europe. At home, the greatest public as well 
as private distress existed ; public credit had gone to wreck, 
and the enemy built their most sanguine hopes of overcoming 
us, upon this circumstance ; and the treasury was so much 
in arrears to the servants in the public offices, that many of 
tliem could not, without payment, perform their duties, but 
must have gone to jail for debts they had contracted to ena- 
ble them to live. To so low an ebb was the public treasuir 
reduced, that some of the members of the hoard of war 
declared to Mr. Morris that they had not the means of send- 
ing an express to the army. The pressing distress for pnt* 
vision among the troopF, hss already been mentioned. The 
paper bills of credit were sunk so low in value, as to reqnire a 
burdensome mass of ihcm to pay for an article of clothing." 

But the &ce of things soon began to change through tha 
•zeitlona of Mr. Morris. Without attempting to gira Iha 

lOBSET >OBKta. Ml 

hittory of his wise and judicious managimeqt, it nil be suffi- 
cient to My, in the langiuige of an elegant historian of the 
American war, " certainly ll)o Americana owed) and still oWfli 
as much acknowledgment to the financial operations of Ro* 
bert Morris, as to the negociationa of Benjamin Franklin, 
or even the arms of George Washington." 

To Mr. Morris, also, the country was indebted for the es- 
tablishment of the banL of North America, and for all tha 
pnblic benefits which resulted frnm that inatilution. fir 
means of this, public credit was greatly revived ; interna) im- 
provemenls were promoted, and a general spring was giren 
to tre^e. " The circuladng medium was greatly increased 
by the circulation of its notes, which being convertible at 
will into gold or silver, were universally received equal tliere- 
to, and commanded the most unbounded confidence. Hun- 
dreda availed themselves of the secnrily afforded by the vaults 
of the bank, to deposit their cash, which, from the imposbi- 
bility of investing it, had long been hid from the light ; and 
the constant current of deposits in the course of trade, au- 
thorised the directors to increase their business and the 
amotmt of their issues, to a most unprecedented extent. 
The consequence of this was, a speedy and most perceptible 
change in the stale of alTairs, both public and prvvate." 

We now come to an event, on account of the interest in 
which the name of Robert Morris should be remembered with 
gratitude by the American people, while republican America 
shall lasL The campaign of 1781, respected the reduction 
of NeW'York ; this was agreed upon by Washington and the 
French general. Count Rochambeau, and it was expected that 
the French fleets, under De Barras and De Grasse, would 
co-operate. Judge the surjmse when, on the arrival of the 
French fleet, it was announced to Washington, that the 
French admiral would not enter the bay of New- York, as 
was anticipated, but would enter and remain for a few weeks 
in the Chesapeake. 

This necessarily altered all the arrangements respecting the 
campaign. It waa now obvious to Washington, that the re- 
dnctiOD of New-York would be impracticable. In this slate 
81 21 


of things, it is hinted hy Dr. Mease, in Us biogirpliieil 
■ketch of Mr. Morris, in the Edinburgh Encyclopedia, to 
which article we are freatly indebted, that Mr. Morris tug- 
gested to Washington die attack on Comwallis, which pat a 
finishing alroke to the war. Whether this be so or not, cer- 
tain it is, that nntil the news was conimanicated to Wash- 
ington, that the French fleet would not come into New- York 
bay, the project of a southern campaign had not been deter- 
nuned upon by the commander in chief. But when, at length, 
it was determined upon, whether at the snggestion of Robert 
Morris or not, we are unable to say, it is certain that he pro- 
Tided the funds which enabled General Washington to more 
his army towards the south, and which led to the decisiTO 
battle which terminated the war. 

The length to which this article is already extended, for- 
bids any further account of the serrices of this distinguished 

" It adds not a little, however," says Dr. Mease, " to the 
merit of Mr. Morris, to be able to say, that notwithstanding 
his numerous engagements as a public or private character, 
their magnitude, and often perplexing nature, he was enabled 
to fulfil all the private duties which his high standing in so 
ciety necessarily imposed upon him. His house was the seat 
of elegant, but unostentatious hospitality, and he regulated 
his domestic aflairs with the same admirable order which had 
so long proTerbially distinguished his counting-house, and 
the offices of the secret committee of congress, and that of 
finance. The happy manner in which he conducted his offi- 
cial ami domcHlic concerns, was owing, in the first catte, to 
his own superior talents for dispatch and method in busi- 
ness, and, in the last, to the qualifications of his excellent 
partner, the sister of the esteemed bishop of Fennsylrania, 
Dr. White. An introduction to Mr. Morris was a matter of 
course, witn all the strangers in good society, who, for half a 
century, visited Philadelphia, either on commercial, public, 
or private business ; and it is not saying too much to assert, 
that during a certain period, it greatly depended upon him to 
do the honours of the city ; and certainly no one w«a more 

BOaUtT KOKIU. 9lt 

qmlified, or mora williag to snpport them. Althoa^h activ* 
ID the acqniflitioD of weiltb u a merchant, do odo more free- 
•y parted with hifl gaiaa, for public or prirate pDrpoBeaofa 
meritorioiu nature, whether these were to support the credit 
of the goremmeot, to promote the objecta oihumanity, local 
improvement, the welfare of meritorious individuals in society, 
or a faithful commercial servant. The instances in which he 
ehone oh all these uccasions were numerous. Some Id refe- 
ference to the three former particulars, hare been mentioned, 
and more of his disinterested generosity in respect to the bit 
could be given, were the present intended to be any thing 
more than a hasty sketch. The prime of his life was enga- 
ged in discharging the most important civil tmsts to his coun- 
try that could possibly fall to the lot of any man ; and mil- 
lions passed through his hands as a publie officer, without the 
smallest breath of insinootion against his correctness, or of 
negligence amidst "the defaulters of unaccounted thousands," 
ur ihe losses sustained by the reprehensible carelessness of 
national agents. 

From the foregoing short statement, we may have some 
idea of the nature and magnitude of the services rendered by 
Mr. Morris to the United States. It may be truly said, that 
few men acted a more conspicuous or useful part; and when 
we recollect, that it was by his exertions and talents, that the 
United States were bo often relieved from their diiEculties, at 
times of great depression and pecuniary distress, an estimate 
may be formed of the weight of obligations due to him from 
the people of the present day. The length to which this ar- 
ticle is already extended, forbids any further particulars res- 
pecting this distinguished man. It may be proper to add, 
however, that the latter part of his life was rendered unhappy, 
by an unfortunate scheme of land speculation, in which he en- 
gaged, and by which his pecuniary affairs became exceeding- 
ly embarrassed ; yet amidst his severest trials, he maintained 
■ firmness and an independence of character, which in similar 
circumstances belong to but few. 
At length, through public labour, and private misfortune 


Ua constitution wu literalljr vom oat, and Uke k ihock of 
eom fulljr rip«, he came to Ua end on the 8th of H&jr 1906. 
in the MTen^-third year of hia age. 


Benjamin RasB was bom on the a4th of December, 1745, 
O. 8. in the townahip of Byberry, tweire or fourteen miles 
northeast of Philadelphia. Hia ancestors emigrated firom 
England to Pennaylrania, about the year 1083. 

The father of young Rush died when he was six years of 
age. The care of his education therefore devolved upon hia 
mother, who welt understood the importance of knowledge, 
and early took measures to give her son a liberal education. 
Young Rush was sent to the academy at Nottingham, in Ma- 
ryland, about sixty miles southeast from Philadelphia. This 
academy had long been conducted, with great reputation, by 
the Reverend Dr. Finley, afterwards president of Princeton 
college, in New-Jersey. 

Under the care of this excellent man, and among the peo- 
ple of Nottingham, who were remarkable for their simplicity, 
industr}-, morality, and religion, Rush spent five years, in ac- 
qniring a knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages. In 
this retired spot, end at this early age, he is said to have been 
deeply impressed with a reverence for religion, with the im- 
portance of a regular life, and of diligence, industry, and a 
punctual attention to business ; and in general, of soch steady 
habits, as stamped a value on hia character through life. The 
solid foundation which was thus laid for correct principles 
and an upright conduct, was chiefly the work of the learned 
and pious Dr. Finley. He was an accomplished instructor of 
yonth. He trained his pupils for both worlds, having re- 
spect in all his intercourse with them, to their future, u well 
as present state of aTistence. 


After finishing his preparatory studies at Nottingham, he 
was entered in 1750, a student in the college of Princeton, 
then under the superintendence of President Daries. Such 
had been his progress in his clssstcal stodiea at Nottinghmm, 
that he obtained the degree of bachelor of arU in 1700^ and 
before he had eompleted bis fifteenth year. 

On leaving college, he commenced the stndy of medicine, 
onder the direction of the eminent Dr. Redman, of Philadel- 
phia. He was also one of Dr. Shippen'a ten pupils, who at- 
tended the first course of anatomical lectures given in this 
coontry. In 1766, he went to Edinburgh, where he spent 
two years at the university in that city, and from which he 
received the degree of M. D. in 1768. 

The next winter after his graduation he spent in London ; 
and the following spring having visited France, in the autumn 
of the flame year he returned to Philadelphia, end commen- 
ced the practice of medicine. 

In I76fl, he waa elected professor of chemistry in the col- 
lege of Philadelphia. This addition to Drs. Shippen, Mor- 
gan, Kuhn, and Bond, who had begun to lecture a few years 
before, completed the various departments, and fully organi- 
zed this first medical school in America. By a subsequent 
arrangement in 1791, the college was merged in a university, 
and Dr. Rush waa appointed professor of the institutes and 
practice^f medicine, and of clinical practice, in the university 
of Pennsylvania. 

As a lectuper on chemistry, and a practitioner, Dr. Rash 
became deservedly popular. During his residence abroad, 
his professional attainments were much enlarged, and he waa 
successful in introducing several valuable improvements- 
He was particularly attached to the system of depletion, and 
resorted to bleeding in many new coses. Next to the lancet, 
he used cathartics ; and upon these two remedies he chiefly 
depended for the cure of diseases. About the year 1790. 
IwcDiy years after Dr. Rush had been a practitioner, an^ 
professor of medicine, he began to publish bis new principle* 
of medicine. These were more or less deretoped by him ta 


liii luceeuive annual conne of lectvrMt for llie robaequent 

tirenty-lbree yeara of his life. 

It is not our province to settle the merits of that system, 
which Dr. Rush adopted. He applied his principles of medi- 
eine to the cure of consumptions, dropsies, hydrocepfaaliu, 
apoplexy, gout, and other < diseases of the body, and also to 
madness, and the diseases of the mind. He depended chiefly 
upon the lancet, and strongly urged the use of calomel, to 
which he gave the name of " the Sampnm of the Materia 

It was not to bo expected that a system, in many respects 
ao novel, should be adopted by every one. It had its strong 
opposers, and these opposera exist at the present day. They 
objected to the system of depletion, but agreed with Doctor 
Rush, that calomel was well entitled to the name of " Samp- 
son," not for the reason which he assigned, but "because,* 
said ihey, " it has slain its thottsands," 

In the year 1703, Dr. Rush had an opportunity of apply* 
ing his principles, in the treatment of yellow fever. In that 
vear, Philadelphia was desolated by that tremendous scourge, 
after an interval of thirty-one years. The disease baffled the 
ekill of the oldest and most judicious physicians ; and they 
differed about the nature, and the treatment of it " This 
general calamity lasted for about one hundred days, extend- 
ing from July till November. The deaths in the whole of 
this distressing period, were four thousand and forty-four, 
or something more than thirty-eight each day, on an average. 
Whole families were confined by iU There was s great defi- 
ciency of nurses for the sick. There was likewise a great 
deficiency of physicians, from the desertion of some, and the 
sickness and death of others. At one time, there were but 
three physicians, who were able to do business out of their 
houses, and at this time there were probably not less than six 
tnousand persons ill .with the fever." 

" A cheerful countenance was scarcely to be seen for six 
weeks. The streets every where discovered marks of the 
distress that pervaded the city. In walking for many hun- 
dred yards, few persons were met, except such ma were in 

BKHJAlflli BUIB. 9tt 

qnett of a physidan, a narae, a bleeder, or the nen who 
buried the dead. The hearse alone kept np the Temembrance 
of the noise of carriages, or c«rts, in the streets. A black 
man leading; or driTing; a horse, with a corpse, od a pair of 
chair wheels, met the eye in most of the streets of the citjr, at 
erery hour of the day ; while the noise of the same wheels 
passing slowly over the pavement kept alire anguish and fear 
in the uck and well, every hour of the night." 

For some time after the commencement of the disease, all 
the physicians were nearly alike unsuccessful in the manage- 
ment of it. At this time, Dr. Rush resorted to gentle evacu- 
anls aa had been used in the yellow fever of 1T02 ; but find- 
ing these unavailing, he applied himself to an investigation 
of the disease, by means of the authors who had written on 
the subject. He ransacked his library, and pored over every 
book which treated of the yellow fever. At length he took 
up a manuscript, which contained an account of the disease, 
as it prevailed in Virginia, in 1741, and which was given to 
him by Dr. Franklin, and had been written by Dr. Mitchell of 
Virginia. In this manuscript the propriety and necessity of 
powerful evacuants were stated and urged, even in cases of 
extreme debility. 

These ideas led Dr. Rush to an alteration in his practice- 
He adopted the plan of Dr. Mitchell. He administered calo- 
mel and jalap combined, and had the happiness of curing four 
of the first five patients to whom he administered this medi- 
cine, notwithstanding some of them were advanced several 
days in the disease. 

" After such a pledge of the safety and success of this new 
medicine," says Dr. Thatcher, in his biographical sketch of 
Dr. Rush, " he communicated the prescription to such of the 
practitioners as he met in the streets. 3ome of them, he 
found, had been in the use of calomel for several days ; hot as 
diey had given it in single doses only, and had followed it by 
Urge doses of bark, wine, and laudanum, they had done little 
•ir no good with it He imparted the prescription to the col- 
lege of physicians, on the third of September, and endeavour- 
ed to remove the fears of bis fellow citizens, by assuring ihera 


that the diaease was no longer incanble. Tlie credit im 
prescription acquired, brought him an iminenae aeceaiion of 
buainesi. It continued to be almost uniformly effectual, in 
nearly all those caset which he was able to attend, either in 
person, or by hia pupils. But he did not rely upon purges 
alone to cure the disease. The theory which he had B<lopted 
led him to use other remedies, to abstract excess of etimuloi 
from the system. These were blood letting, cool air, cold 
drinks, low diet, and application of cold water to the body. 
He began by drawing a small quantity of blood at a time. 
The appearance of it when drawn, and ila effects upon the 
system, satisfied him of its safety and efficacy, and encouraged 
him to proceed. Never did he experience audi sublime joy 
u he now felt, in contemplating the sucpeaa of his remedies. 
It repaid him for all the toils and studies of his life. The 
conquest of this formidable disease was not the efTect of acci- 
dent, nor of the application of a single remedy ; but it was 
the triumph of a principle in medicine. In this joyful slate 
of mind, he entered in hie note book, dated the lOth of Sep. 
tember, ' Thanlc God, out of one hundred patients whom 1 
have visited or prescribed for this day, I have lost none.' 

*' Being unable to comply with the numerous demands 
which were made upon him, for the purging powders, not- 
withstanding he had employed three persons to assist his 
pupils in putting them up, and finding himself unable to at- 
tend all the persons who sent for him, he furnished the apo- 
thecariea with the receipt for the mercurial purges, together 
with printed directions for giving them, and for the treatment 
of the disease. Had he consulted his own interest, he would 
silently have pursued his own plans of cure, with his old pa- 
tients, who still confided in him and his new remedies ; but 
he felt, at this season of universal distress, his professional 
obligations to all the citizens of Philadelphia, to be superior 
to private and personal considerations ; and therefore de- 
termined, et every hazard, to do every thing in his power to 
nve their lives. Under the influence of this disposition, he 
addressed a letter to the college of physicians, in which he 
stated his objections to Dr. SteveDs's remedies, and deftoded 


thoM lie liad recommended. He likewise defended them in 
the public papers, apinst the attacks that were made upon 
them by several of the physicians of the city, and occasion- 
ally addressed such advice to the citizens as experience had 
suggested to be useful to prevent the disease. In none of th« 
recommendations of bis remedies did he claim the credit of 
their discovery. On the contrary, he constantly endeavour 
ed to enforce their adoption by mentioning' precedents in 
ftvour of their efficacy, from the highest authorities in medi 
cine. This controversy was encouraged merely to prevent 
the greater evil of the depopulation of Philadelphia, by the 
use of remedies which had been prescribed by himself as 
well as others, not only without effect, but with evident inju 
ry to the sick. The repealed and numerous instances of 
their incfHcacy, and the almost uniform success of the de- 
pleting remedies, after a while procured submission to the lat 
ter, from nearly all the persons who were affected by the 

" Many whole families, consisting of five, six, and, in 
three instances, of nine members, were recovered by plenti- 
ful purging and bleeding. These remedies were prescribed 
with great advantage by several of the physicians of the city 
Bui the use of them was not restricted to the physicians alone; 
the clergy, the apothecaries, many private cilizens, several 
Intelligent women, and two black men, prescribed them with 
great success. Nny, more, many persons prescribed ibem 
to themselves. It was owing to the almost universal use of 
these remedies, that the mortality of the disease diminished 
in proportion as the number of persons who were affected by 
it increased. It is probable that not less than six thousand 
of the inhabitants of Philadelphia were saved from death by 
bleeding and purging, during the autumn of 1793. 

" The credit which this new mode of treating the disease 
acquired in all parts of the city, produced an immense influx 
of patients to Dr. Rush. His pupils were constantly employ- 
ed at first in putting up purging powders, but after a while 
only in bleeding and visiting the sick. 

" Between the 8th aud 16th of September, Dr. Boih Tidied 
2K - -■ -^ 


ttai preicribeil for a hundred and a hundred and tventf pa- 
tienU a day. In the short intervals of luiainew, whieh he 
■pent at his meals, bia house was filled with patients, chief- 
ly the poor, waiting for adrice. For many weeks he ael- 
dom ate without prescribing for numbers as he sat at table. 
To assist him, three of his pupils, Mr. Stall, Mr. Fisher, 
and Mr. Cox, accepted of rooms in his house, and became 
members of his family. Their laboiira now had no re- 
niflsion. He employed every moment in the interval uf 
bis visits to the sick, in prescribing in his house for the 
poor, or in sending answers to messages from his patients. 
Unable to comply with the numerous applications that were 
made to him, he was obliged to refuse many every 'day. 
Bia lister counted forty-aeven applicants for medical aid 
turned off in one forenoon, before eleven o'clock. In 
tiding through the streets, he was often forced to resist the 
entreaties of parents imploring a visit to their children, or of 
children to their parents. He was sometimes obliged to 
tear himself from persons who ettemptcd to stop him, and to 
urge his way by driving his chair as speedily as possible be- 
yond the reach of their cries. While he was thus over- 
whelmed with business, and his own life endangered, without 
being able to answer the numerous calls made on him, he re- 
ceived letters from bis friends in the country, pressing him, 
in the strongest terms, to leave the city. To one of these 
letters he replied, " that he had resolved to stick to his prin- 
ciples, his practice, end his patients, to the last extremity." 

The incessant labours of Dr. Rush, both of body and mind, 
during this awful visitation, nearly overpowered his health, 
and for a time his useful life was despaired of. By a timely 
application of remedies, however, he was restored, and able 
to return to tlie duties of his profession. But ill health was 
not the only evil he suffered, as the consequence of his ac- 
tivity, during the prevalence of the yellow fever in Philadel- 
phia. His mode of treatment was callcrt in question by many 
of his contemporaries, notwithstanding tlic great success 
which attended it At length the prejudices against him iD> 
fected not only physicians, but a considerable part of die 


commiiiii^. The public jouroals were enliited againit him, 
and in numerous pamphleia his system was attacked with 
great leTerity. He was eren called a murderer, and was at 
length threatened to be prosecuted and expelled the city. 

The benefactors of mankind have not unfreqnently been 
treated in a similar manner. They suffer for a time ; but 
justice ia at length done them. Dr. Harvey, as a cons»- 
quence of pnblishing his account of the circolation of the 
blood, lost bia practice ; and the great Dr. Sydenham snffered 
in a similar manner, for introducing depleting medicine in 
casea of inflammatory fevers. On the termination of the fever 
in Philadelphia, a motion was made in a public meeting of 
the citizens in that city, to thank the physicians for their ser- 
ricea during the prevalence of the fever, hut no one would 
tecond it. This was high ingratitude, and especially when 
it is conaidered that eight out of thirty-five of the physicians, 
who continued in the city, died; and of those who remained, 
but three escaped the fever. 

Notwithstanding the great labours of Dr. Rush as a lec- 
turer and practitioner, he waa a voluminous writer. Hb 
printed works consisted of seven volumes, six of which treat 
of medical subjects. One is a collection of essays, literary, 
moral, and philosophical. It ia a matter of wonder how a 
physician, who had so many patients to attend — a professor, 
who had so many pupils to instruct — could find leisure to 
write BO much, and at the same lime so well. Our wonder 
will cease, when it is known that he suffered no fragments of 
lime to be wasted, and that he improved every opportunity 
of acquiring knowledge, and used all practicable means for 
retaining and digesting what he had acquired. In his early 
youth he had the best instructors, and in every period of hia 
life, great opportunities for mental improvement. He was 
gifted from heaven with a lively imagination, a retentive me- 
mory, a discriminating judgment, and he made the most of 
all these advantages. From boyhood till his last sickness, 
he was a constant and an indefatigable student He read 
much, but thought more. His mind waa conslantly en- 
gtoiBed with at least one literary inquiry, to which, for di* 

S5S PESNsrl-TiKIA pv 

time, he devoted liis undivided atlei 
mnEter of that subject, he read, lie q 
It wad less Lis custom (o reail ft bOo] 
jisniucliorHll the authors within him 
ji^cl iif his present inquiry. Hia k^ 
ibo maleriuls thus collected, contpl 
lluir rclotioiiH to each other, and i 
own coneluBioDs. la these, and liiffi 
was habitually and almost canstuii| 
aggre-galed mid mullipUed hia inlel 
manuer his sound judgment wm letlfl 
binations, which cunatilute principle^ 
acquaintances with his literary fclloll 
informed Blrangers, who vUiled PhLh 
them every atom of Infvrmation he g 
eing on tho subjects witli ivhich lb« 
He extracted so largely from the 1 
deposited in (he expanded mind ( 
once mentioned to a friend, hie tntenn 
the tiiie of Frankliniana, in which hu 
fragmenls of wiadoni, which he hftd a 
as ihcy fell in cunvemation fron I 
ginal genius. To Dr. Kuah, everiy p 
one wiiJi whom ho conTcraed i 
withutit a book, for, when he had no i 
was Itoforc him, and engaged his atl| 
to khi pupils, he advised ihem, ' 
mot with, whether in a packet t 
public road, under contribution I 
jccta.' What the prafessot reconn^ 
tiscd himself. His eyea and ettt 1 
and profit by every occurrence. 
from persona of all capacities he il 
purpose. He iUuslrales one of hifl n 
communicated by a butcher ; aoothai 
made by a madman, In the Peiu 
scicntilic work un the diseaaea t^ ^_ 
qucntly to poets, and particulujy lO'fl 


tine, be deroted his undivided attention. To make hinaeb 
nuiter of ih&t subjecti he readt he meditated, he conversed. 
It was 1ei8 his cuBtom to read a book throngh, than to reaa 
aamuchofall the authors vithinhii reach ai bore on the sub- 
ject of his present inquiry. Hie active mind brooded over 
the materials thus collected) compared his ideas, and traced 
their relations to each other, and from the whole drew his 
own coDclueionB. In these, and similar mental exercises, he 
was habitually and almost conalantly employed, and daily 
ag^egated and multiplied his intellectual stores. In this 
manner his sound judgment was led to form those new com- 
binations, which constitute principles in science. He formed 
acquaintances with his literary fellow-citizens, and all weC 
informed itrangers, who visited Philadelphia; aud drew from 
them every atom of informalion ho could obtain, by conver- 
sing on the subjects with which they were best acquainted. 
He extracted so largely from the magazine of knowledge 
deposited in the expanded mind of Dr. Franklin, that he 
once mentioned to a friend, his intention to write a book with 
the title of Frnnkliniana, in which he proposed to collect the 
fragmenls of wisdom, which he had treasured in his memory, 
as they fell in conversation from the lips of this great ori- 
ginal genius. To Dr. Rush, every place was a school, every 
one wiih whom he conversed was a tutor. He was nevci 
without a book, for, when he had no other, the book of nature 
was before him, and engaged his attention. In his lectures 
to his pupils, he advised them, ' to lay every person they 
met with, whether in a packet boat, a stage wagon, or a 
public road, under contribution for facts on physical sub- 
jects.' What the professor recommended to them, he prac- 
tised himself. His eyes and ears were open to see, hear, 
and profit by every occurrence. The facts he received 
from persons of all capacities he improved to some valuable 
purpose. He illustrates one of his medical theories by a fact 
communicated by a butcher; another from an observatioii 
made by a madman, in the Permsylvania Hospital. In his 
scientific work on the diseases of the mind, he refers fr^ 
qoeutly to poeta, and particularly to Shakapeare, to illBalntt 


tihe history of madnoM, and apologises for it in the foUowing 
words. * Thej (poets) view the human mind in all its opera* 
lions, whether natural or morbid, with a microseopic eye* 
and hence many things arrest their attention^ which escape 
the notice of physicians.' It may be useful to students to 
be informed, that Dr. Rush constantly kept by him a note 
book, consisting of two parts, in one of which he entered 
facts as they occurred ; in the other, ideas and obsenrationsy 
as they arose in his own mind, or were suggested by others 
in confersation. His mind was under such complete dis- 
cipline, that he could read or write with perfect composurOt 
in the midst of the noise of his children, the conversation 
of his family, and the common interrogatories of his yisiting 
patients. A very moderate proportion of his time was devo* 
ted to sleep, and much less to the pleasures of the table. In 
the latter case, sittings were never prolonged, but in conver- 
sation on useful subjects, and for purposes totally distinct 
from the gratifications of appetite. In the course of neariy 
seventy years spent in this manner, he acquired a sum of 
useful practical knowledge that has rarely been attained by 
one man, in any age or country.*' 

Medical inquiries were the primary objects of Dr. Rush's 
attention ; yet he by no means neglected other branches of 
knowledge. In the earlier part of his life, he paid great 
attention to politics. The subjects of a political character, 
which chiefly engrossed his mind, were the independence of 
his country, the establishment of wise constitutions for the 
states generally, and for his own state particularly, and the 
difiusion of knowledge among the American people. On 
these subjects he usefully employed his pen in numerous 
essays, which were pubUshed under a variety of names. 

This political knowledge, and political integrity, were so 
well appreciated, that sundry offices were conferred upon 
him. He was a member of the celebrated congress of ITMy 
which declared these states free and independent. This 
event Dr. Rush perceived to be the harbinger of important 
blessings to the American people. He was not one of those 
who thought so much of commerce, of the influx of riches^ 



or higb nnk mbod; th« nmdoDt. TImm, indeed, he well 
knew were eouBeqnencee which wonld reeolt from Ibe deck- 
atioii of independence. Bat theu he Tiewed u k minor 
eonaideration, compared with the increoM of talent> and know- 
Mge. The progreae of eloqaence, of Bcience, end of mind, 
in all its varioua pimuita, waa conaidered by him as the ne- 
eeasary effect of republican conatitutionB, and in the pro- 
xpect of ihem he rejoiced. Nor was he diaappointed ; for in 
alecture, delivered in November, 1709, he obaervei : "from 
Mtrict attention to the state of mind in thia country, before the 
jeer lT74,and at the present time, I am satisfied (lie ratio of 
intellect is as twenty are to one, and of knowled^ as a hun- 
dred ere to one, in theae states, compared with what they 
were before the American Tevolntion." 

In 1777, be was appointed physician general of the military 
hospital in the middle department, sometime after which he 
pnblished his observations on our hospitals, army diseases, 
and the effects of tlie revolution on the army and people. 

In 1787, he became a member of the convention of Penn- 
sylvania for the adoption of the federal constitution. This 
constitution received his warmest approbation. He pro- 
nounced the federal government a masterpiece of hmnan 
wisdom. From it he anticipated a degree of felicity to die 
American people which they have not, and probably never 
will, experience. 

For the last fourteen years of his life, he was treasurer for 
the United States mint, by appointment of President Adams ; 
an office which was conferred upon him, as a homage to his 
talents and learning, and by means of which something was 
added to his revenue. 

Dr. Rush look a deep interest in the many private associa- 
tions, for the advancement of human happiness, with which 
Pennaylvania abounds. In the establishment of the Phila- 
delphia Dispensary, the first institution of the kind in the 
United States, he led the way. He was the principal agent 
in founding Dickinson College, in Carlisle ; and through his 
influence, the R«v. Dr. Nisbet, of Monlrose, in Scotland, wu 
indnead to remove to America to take charge of it. For aoms 

ymn, he wu prendent of the todety for the abolillon of ai»- 
Terjt *ii^< ^^o, oftiiePhilftdelphiBHedicml Society. Hevn 
* founder of the Philadelphia Bible Societj', and one of ita vte^ 
presidents, and a Tice-president of the American Philoaophical 
Society. He waa an honorary member of many of the literary 
inalitutiona, both of thii country and of Europe. In 1S06, he 
wu honoured by the king of Pnusia, with a medal, for hie re- 
plies to certain qneationa on the yellow ferer. On a aimikr 
accomit, he was presented with e gold medal in 1807, from the 
qoeen of Etmris; and in 1611, the Emperor of Rnssia sent 
him a diamond ring, as a testimony of hia respect for his m»- 
dical character. 

Dr. Rush wM a pDblic writer for forty-nine yesra, and 
from the nineteenth to the sixty-eighth year of his age. His 
works, which were quite numerous, show much reading, deep 
investigation, and tried experience. He seems to have con^ 
bined the most useful in physical science, witii the most ele- 
gant in literature. Instead of being a mere collator of the 
opinions of others, he waa constantly making discoveries and 
improvements of his own ; and from the result of his indivi- 
dual experience and observation, ealablished more principles, 
and added more facts to the science of medicine, than all who 
bad preceded him in his native country. The tendency of all 
his writings was decidedly good. 

He powerfully, and to some extent successfully, employed 
his pen against some of the habits and vices of mankind. His 
" Inquiry into the effects of ardent spirits upon the human 
body and mind," has been more read than any of his works. 
All the medical philosophy that was pertinent to the snbjecli 
WB9 incorporated with it. Striking descriptions of the per- 
sonal and family distress occaHioned by that vice, and of its 
havoc on the minds, bodies and estates of its unhappy votaries, 
were given, and the means of prevention and cure pointed 
out The whole was illustrated by a scale, graduated like a 
thermometer, showing at one view the effects of certain 
enumerated liquors on the body, the mind, and the condition 
in society of those who are addicted to them. In the last 
year of Dr. Rush's life, he presented to the general ai 


of the Preibjrteriimchareh in the United Stat* . jfletbaaauid 
eopiei of tiuM popular punphlet, to be gireti amy among the 
people of their respectiTe congregatioiu. About the MUne 
lime, that nmnerooa and respectable body pasied a raaolntion, 
enjoining on their membera to exert themaelres in eottnter- 
■eting thia minoas Tice. 

In faia ■* Obaemtioiie upon the inflnence of the habitnal 
BM of tobacco upon health, morala, and property," Dr. Ruah 
MBployed his eloquent pen in diaauading from practieea, 
iriiich inaeneibly grow into habile prodnctire of many onfore- 

Dr. Ruah waa a great practical physician. In the treat- 
Bent of diseaaes he was eminenlly ancceaafnlf and in deacri- 
Ung their aymptoma and explaining their cauaes, he waa nn> 
commonly accurate. Nor is thia matter of wonder, for he 
waa minutely acquainted with the histories of diseases of all 
agea, countries, and occupationa. The annals of medicine 
cannot produce an account of any great epidemic disoasct 
that has visited our earth, in any age. or country, which is 
more minute, accurate, and completely satisfactory, than Dr. 
Rush's description of the yellow fever of 1793, in Philadel- 
phia. Had he never written another line, this alone would 
have immortalized his name. He waa a physician of no 
eommoQ cast. His prescriptions were not confined to doses 
of medicine, but to the regulation of the diet, air, drees, ezer* 
cise, and mental actioDA of bis patients, so as to prevent 
disease, and to make healthy men and women from invalids. 
His pre-eminence as a physician, over so many of his coatem 
poraries, arose from the following circumslances : 

He carefully studied the climate in which he lived, and the 
aymploms of acute and chronic diseases therein prevalent; 
the diflerent habits and constitutions of his patients, and 
yaried his prescriptions with their strength, age, and sex. 

He marked the influence of different seasons, upon the 
same disease; and varied his practice accordingly. He obser- 
ved and recorded the influence of successive epidemic dis- 
eases upon each other, and the hurtful as well as salutary 
efieets of his remedies, and thereby acquired a knowledge ol 


the character of the reigning disease in every successive sea- 
son. His notes and records of the diseases, which have taken 
pkice in Philadelphia for the last forty-four years, must be 
of incalculable value to such as may have access to them. In 
attendance upon patients, Dr. Rush's manner was so gentle 
and sympathising, that pain and distress were less poignant in 
his presence. On all occasions he exhibited the manners of 
a gentleman, and his conversation was sprightly, pleasant^ 
and instructive. His letters were peculiarly excellent ; for 
they were dictated by a feeling heart, and adorned with the 
e£[usions of a brilliant imagination. His correspondence 
was extensive, and his letters numerous ; but every one of 
them, as far as can be known to an individual, contained 
something original, pleasant, and sprightly. I can truly say, re- 
marks Dr. Ramsay, that in the course of thirty-five years' cor- 
respondence and friendly intercourse, I never received a let 
ter from him without being delighted and improved ; nor left 
his company without learning something. His observations 
were often original, and when otherwise, far from insipid : 
for he had an uncommon way of expressing common thoughts. 
He possessed in a high degree those talents which engage the 
heart. He took so lively an interest in every thing that 
concerned his pupils, that each of them believed himself a 
favourite, while his kind offices to all proved that he was the 
common friend and father of them all. 

In lecturing to his class, Dr. Rush mingled the most ab- 
struse investigation with the most agreeable eloquence ; the 
sprightliest sallies of imagination, with the most profound dis- 
quissi lions ; and the whole was enlivened with anecdotes, both 
pleasant and instructive. His language was simple and al- 
ways intelligible, and his method so judicious, that a consistent 
view of the subject was communicated, and the recollection 
of the whole rendered easy. His lectures were originally 
written on leaves alternately blank. On the blank side he 
entered from time to time, every new fact, idea, anecdote, or 
illustration, that he became possessed of, from any source 
whatever. In the course of about four years, the blank was 
generally so far filled up, that he found it expedient to make 
2L 22* 



a new Bet of lectures. In this wsy he not only enlightened 
the various subjects, on which it wu his province to instruct 
his class ; but the light which he cast on them, for forty-four 
snccessive years, waa continually brightening. The instrpc- 
tions he gave to lus pupils by lectures, though highly valua- 
ble, were less so than the habits of thinking and obaervation 
he, in some degree, farced upon them. Hia constant aim was 
to rouse their minds from a passive to an active state, so as 
to enable them to instruct themselves. Since the first insti- 
lution of the medical school in Pennsylvania, its capital, 
Philadelphia, has been the very atmosphere of medicine, and 
that atmosphere has been constantly clearing from the fogs 
of error, and becoming more luminous from tfie successive 
and increasing difliiaion of the light of truth. A portion of 
luiowledge floated about that hallowed spot, which was im- 
bibed by every student, without his being conacious of it, 
and had an influence in giving to his mind a medical texture. 
To this happy stale of things all the professors contributed. 
Drs. AVistar, Barton, Physick, Dorsey, Coxe, and James, the 
survivors of that illustrioua and meritorious body, will ac- 
knowledge that their colleague, Professor Rush, was not de- 
ficient in his quota. 

We have hitherto viewed Dr. Rush as an author, a physi- 
cian, a professor, and a philosopher ; let us now view him as 
a man. From him wc may learn to be good, as well as great. 
Such was the force of pious example and religious education 
in the first fifteen years of his life, that though he spent the en- 
suing nine in Philadelphia, Edinburgh, London, and Paris, ex- 
pos^ to the manifold temptations which are inseparable from 
great cities, yet he returned, at the age of twenty-four, to his na- 
tive country, with unsullied purity of morals. The sneers of in- 
fidels, and the fascinations of pleasure, had no power to divert 

1 from the correct principles and virtuous habits which had 

a ingraned on his mind in early youth. He came home 

in hit travels witli ni) c^^rcssive attachment but to his books ; 

rambitioo than that of beinga great scholar; and witfa- 

of making a stepping-atone of his talents and 

for him die meani of settling down in 


inglorious ease, without the farther cultivation and exertion of 
his talents. In a conversation which he held with Dr. Ram- 
say, thirty-five years ago, Dr. Rush observed, that as he step* 
ped from the ship that brought him home from Europe, he 
resolved that '' no circumstances of personal charms, fortune, 
or connexions, should tempt him to perpetrate matrimony, 
(his own phrase,) till he had extended his studies so far that a 
family would be no impediment to his farther progress.** To 
this resolution of sacrificing every gratification to hb love 
for learning, and his desire of making a distinguished figuri 
in the republic of letters, he steadily adhered. For this he 
trimmed the midnight lamp ; for this, though young, gay, 
. elegant in person and manners, and possessed of the most in- 
sinuating address, he kept aloof from all scenes of dissipation, 
enervating pleasure, and unprofitable company, however 
fashionable ; and devoted himself exclusively to the cultiva- 
tion of those powers which God had given him. 

Piety to God was an eminent trait in the character of Dr 
Rush. In all his printed works, and in all his private trans- 
actions, he expressed the most profound respect and venera- 
tion for the great Eternal. At the close of his excellent ob- 
servations on the pulmonary consumption, he observes, *' I 
cannot conclude this inquiry without adding, that the author 
of it derived from his paternal ancestors a predisposition to 
pulmonary consumption ; and that, between the eighteenth 
and forty-third year of his age, he has occasionally been af- 
flicted with many of the symptoms of that disease which he 
has described. By the constant and faithful use of many of 
the remedies which he has now recommended, he now, in 
the sixty-first y^ar of his age, enjoys nearly an uninterrupted 
exemption from pulmonary complaints. In humble gratitude, 
therefore, to that Being who condescends to be called the 
* preserver of men,* he thus publicly devotes the result of his 
experience and inquiries to the benefit of such of hb fellow 
creatures as may be afflicted with the same disease, sincere^ 
wbhing that they may be as useful to them as they have been 
to the author.** 

It was not only by words, but in deeds, that he expresitd 



his rerereiice for the Divine efaancter. It was his lutia] prac- 
tice to close the day hy reading to his collected &mily a 
chapter in the Bible, and aftemaTds by addressing his Maker 
in prayer, devoutly acknoivledging his goodness for favours 
received, and humbly imploring his continued protection and 
blessing. His respect for Jehovah, led him to respect his 
ministers, who acted consistently with their high calling. He 
considered their o£Gce of the greatest imparlance to society, 
both in this world and that which ia to come. He stiengthen- 
0d their hands, and was always ready and willing to promote 
and encourage arrangements for their comfortable support, 
and for building churches, and for propagating the gospel 
In an address to ministers of every denomination, on subjects 
interesting to morals, he remarks, " If there were no here- 
after, individuals and societies would be great gainers by at- 
tending public worship every Sunday. Rest from labour in 
the house of God winds up the machine of both soul and 
body better than any thing else, and thereby invigorates it 
for the labours and duties of the ensuing week." Dr. Rush 
made his first essay as an author, when an apprentice to Dr. 
Redman, by writing an eulogy on the Rev. Gilbert Tenuent, 
who had been the friend and fellow labourer of the celebrated 
George Whitfield, and an active, useful, animated presLhei 
of the gospel, from 1TO6 Ull I7M. On the 27th of May, 
1800, he wrote to bis cousin. Dr. Finley, to this effect : "The 
general assembly of the presbyterian church is now in ses- 
sion in Philadelphia. It is composed of many eicellenl men, 
some of whom are highly distinguished by talents and learn- 
ing, as well as piety. I have had some pleasmt visits from a 
number of them, and have been amply rewatded for my ci- 
vilities to them, by their agreeable and edifying conversation. 
They remind roe of the happy times when their places in the 
church were filled by your venerable father, and hia illus- 
trious contemporaries and friends, Messrs. Tennent, Blair, 
Davies, and Rodgera." 

The life of Dr. Rush was terminated on the 19th of April, 
in the 68th year of his age. During his illness, which was 
of but few iaga ronUnuance, his house was boset with crowds 





of dtizenst anch wai the general anxiety in reipect to (he life 
of ihU excellent man. When, at length, he died, the news 

HICKS lorcandlea, tilling moulds, and running of errands, 
became uneasy, and at length resolved to cinhark on a i 
fering Ufe. To such a proposition, however, his psrenH I 
■Irongly objecledi as they had already lost a son at ges. Ht | 


of cidzens, such was the general anxiety in respect to the life 
of this excellent man. When, at length, he died, the news 
of bis decease spread a deep gloom over the city, and ex- 
pressions of profound sympathy were received from all f>arts 
of the country. 


BiNJANiN Franklin was bom at Boston, on the 17th of 
January, 1706. His ancestors were from the county of 
Northampton, in England, where they had for many genera- 
tions possessed a small freehold estate, near the village of 
Eaton. During the persecutions in the reign of Charles II., 
against the puritans, the father of Benjamin, who was of 
that persuasion, emigrated to America, and settling in Bos- 
ton, had recourse for a livelihood to the business of a chan- 
dler and soap boiler. His mother's name was Folger. She 
was a native of Boston, and belonged to a respectable family. 

At an early age, young Franklin discovered, as his parents 
thought, a more than ordinary genius ; and they resolved to 
give him an education, with reference to the profession of a 
clergyman. Accordingly, he was placed at a grammar school, 
where he soon attained the reputation of a lad of industrious 
habits, and respectable genius. 

His parents, however, at the expiration of a year, found 
that their slender revenues would not admit of the expense of 
collegiate instruction. He was, therefore, soon after taken 
home to prosecute the business of his father. In this occu- 
pation he was employed for two years, but it was ill adapted 
to his constitution, and he felt unwilling to continue cutting 
wicks for candles, filling moulds, and running of errands. He 
became uneasy, and at length resolved to embark on a sea- 
faring life. To such a proposition, however, his parents 
strongly objected, as they had already lost a son at sea. He 



was pennittvd, howerer, to change fail bnaiiiMA, and allomd 
to choose an occupation which was more congenial to his in- 

His fondness for books had, from an early age, been singu- 
krly great. He read every thing within his reach. His fo> 
thflr'H library was itself scanty, being confined to a few such 
works as Defoe's Essay upon Projects, Mather's Essay on 
doing Good, and the IJres of Plutarch. These he perused 
with great attention, and they appear to have exercised a fii- 
▼ourable influence on his mind. His love of books was fre- 
quently noticed by his father, who, at length, proposed to 
bind him as an apprentice to an elder brother, who was at 
that time a printer of a newspaper in Boston. He was ac- 
cordingly thus situated, in the year 1717, when he was scarce- 
ly twelve years of age. He soon t)ecame a proficient in the 
mechanical part of the business, and seized every opportuni- 
ty for reading books that he could borrow from his acquaint- 
ance, in which employment he spent the greater part of his 
nights. He soon began to indulge himself in writing Inllads 
and other poetical pieces ; but, it is said, that his father spee- 
dily satisfied him that this was not the species of composition 
in which he could excel. His next eSbrts were directed to 
prose composition, in which his success is well known, and 
duly appreciated. With a passion for reading and writing, 
he imbibed a kindred one for disputation ; and adopting the 
fiocratic method, he became dexterous in confuting and con- 
founding an antagonist, by a series of questions. This 
course gave him a sceptical turn with regard to religion, and 
while he was young he look every opportunity of propagating 
his tenets, and with the ordinary zeal of a new convert. He 
was, however, soon convinced, by the effect produced on 
some of his companions, that it was extremely dangerous to 
loosen the ties of religion, without the probability of substi- 
tuting other principles equally efficacious. The doubts 
which subsisted in his own mind, he was never able to re- 
move ; but he was not deficient in fortifying himself with 
such moral principles as directed him to the most valuable 
ends, by honourable means. By habits of self-denial, early 


fermsd, he oblaioed a complete dominion over hii appetites, 
so that, at the age of sixteen, be readily discarded animal 
food, from the conviction produced in his mind by pernaing a 
work on the subject, thai he should enjoy a more rigorous 
state of health without iL He now offered his brother to 
maintain himself, for half the sum paid for his board ; and 
even with this he was able to make sarings to purchase what 
books he wanted. In bis brother, he found a harsh master, 
and Benjamin felt indignant at the treatment which he ex- 
perienced from him in the way of business. His brother bad 
established a aewspaper, in which the apprentice contrired 
to insert some papers and essays anonymonsly. These were 
read and highly commended by people of the best judgment 
and taste in the town. The young man began now to feel 
his importance, which was still more impressed on him by 
having the paper published in his own name, that of his 
brother, for some political offence, having been interdicted 
by the state. 

On the release of his brother, who had for some time been 
imprisoned for the above political offence, Franklin was treat- 
' ed by him with so much severity, that at length he determin- 
ed to leave him. His indentures having before this been cai>> 
celled, be secretly went on board of a vessel, bound to New- 
York, in which he took passage for that city. After a few 
days spent in New-York, having sought in vain to procure 
business, he proceeded on foot to Philadelphia, where he 
st length arrived, fatigued and destitute of all means of sup- 
port. He wag now but seventeen years of age, at tiie dis- 
tance of four hundred miles from home, nearly pennylcss, 
without employment, without a counsellor, and unacquainted 
with a single person in the city. 

The day following his arrival he wandered through the 
streets of Philadelphia with an appearance littie short of a 
beggar. His pockets were distended by Ids clothes, which 
were crowded into them ; and provided with a roll of-bread 
imder each arm, he proceeded through the principal streets 
of the city. His uncouth appearance attracted the notice of 
icvenl of the citizens, and among others of a Miss Reed, 


who ■ftenrerda becam* his wife, and by wban, u be pinnil 
kloog, he was thought to present a rery awkwud and ridieiH 
!ow sppeannce. 

There were at this time but two printing officei in Fhi)»- 
dalphia. Fortunately, in one of these he found emplaymeot 
u compositor. His condnct was very becoming ; hs was at> 
tentive to basiaess, and economical in his expenses. His 
fidelity not oaly commended him to his master, but was no- 
ticed by se rand respectable citizetUi who promised him tfaar 
patronage and support. 

Among others, who took much notice of himt was Sir Wil- 
liaiD Keith, at that time goremor of the province. Tb* go- 
Tomor baring become acqnai;ited with the history of his re- 
cent adventures, professed a deep interest in his wdlaie, and 
at length proposed that he should commence business on his 
own account ; at the same time, promising to aid him with 
his influence and that of his friends, and to give him the 
priuting of the government Moreover, the governor n^ed 
him to return to Boston, to solicit the concurrence and as- 
sistance of liis father. At the same time, he gave him a le^ 
ter to tliat gentleman, replete with assurances of afiectiont 
and promises of support to the son. 

With this object in view, he sailed for Boston, and at 
lengib, after an absence of several monthg, he again entered 
his father's house. He was affectionately received by the 
family. To his father he communicated the letter of Go- 
vernor Keith, which explained the object of his retnm. His 
father, however, judiciously advised him, on accotmt of youth 
and inexperience, to relinquish the project of setting op a 
printing ofGce, and wrote to this effect to his patron. Govern- 
or Keith. Having determined to follow the advice of his 
father, he returned to Philadelphia, and again entering the 
employment of his former master, porsued his bnfliness with 
his usual assiduous attention. 

GoTcrnor Keilh, on learning the advice and decision of 
Franklin's father, offered himself to furnish the necessary 
materials for a printing establishment, and proposed to Frank- 
lin to make a voyage to England to provnre them. Thia pro* 

axnttMiJi xiumuir. MB 

pOMl FrmUin readilf accepted, and with gntitude to hia 
generouB benefactor, be lailed for England in 1726, aecom- 
panied by his friend Ralph, one of hii literary associates in 
Philadelphia. * 

Before his departure, he exchanged promises of fidelity 
viih Miss Reed of Philadelphia, with whose ftther he had 
lodged. Upon his arriTal in London, Mr. Franklin found 
that Governor Keith, upon whose letters of credit and re- 
commendation he relied, had entirely deceived him. He 
was now obliged to work as a journeyman printer, and ob- 
tained employment in an office in Bartholomew-close. His 
friend Ralph did not so readily find the means of subsist- 
ence, and was a constant driun upon the earnings of Frank- 
lin. In that great city, the morals of the yoimg travellen 
were not much improved; Ralph forgot, or acted as if he 
had forgotten, that he had a wife and child across the Atlan- 
tic ; and Franklin was equally forgetful of his promises and 
engagements to Miss Reed. About this period he publiahed, 
"A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and 
Pain," dedicated to Ralph, and intended as an answer to 
Wollaston's *' Religion of Nature." This piece gained for 
him some degT«e of reputation, and introduced him to the 
acqnaintance of Dr. Mandeville, author of the " Fable of the 
Bees," and some other literary characters Franklin was 
always temperate and industrious, and his habits in this 
respect were eventually the means of securing his morals, 
■s well as of raising his fortune. In the interesting account 
which he has left of his own life, is a narrative of the method 
which he took in reforming the sottish habits of his fellow- 
workmen in the second printing office in which be was 
engaged in London, and which was situated in the neighbour- 
hood of Lincoln' B-inn-ficlds. He tried to persuade them 
that there was more real sustenance in a penny roll, than in a 
jdnt of porter; at first, the plan of economy which he pro- 
posed was treated with contempt or ridicule ; but in the end 
he was able to induce several of them to substitute a warm 
and nourishing breakfast, in the place of stimulating liquors- 
Having resided about a year and a half in London, b* 
3M 33 


concerted a acheme with an Bcqnaintance, to make the tov 
of Europe. At this junclnre, however, he fell in compu^ 
with a mercantile friend, who wai about returning home to 
Philadelphia, and who now persuaded Franklin to tbaodon 
hii project of an esBtem tour, and to enter hia eerrice in the 
capacity of a clerk. On the 2!2d of July, 1726, Ihejr set sail 
for Philadelphia, where they arrived the llth of October. 

The prospects of FrankUn were now brighter. He was 
attached to his new adopted profession, and by his assidnoiu 
attention to bnsineas gained the confidence of his employer 
BO much, that he was about to be commissioned as supercargo 
to the West Indies, when of a sudden his patron died, hy 
which, not only his fair prospects were blighted, hot he wai 
once more throvn out of all employment. 

He had, however, one resource, and that was a return to 
the business of printing, in the service of his former master. 
At length, he became super in ten danl of the printing office 
where he worked, and finding himself able to manage the 
concern with some skill and pro&t, he resolved to embark ic 
business for himself. He entered into partnership with a 
fellow-workman, named Meredith, whose friends were ena- 
bled to furnish a supply of money sufEcient for the concem, 
which was no doubt very small ; for Franklin hag recorded 
the high degree of pleasure, which he experienced from a 
payment of five shillings only, the first fruits of their earn- 
ings. "The recollection," says this noble spirited man, 
"of what I felt on this occasion, has rendered me more di^ 
posed, than perhaps I might otherwise have been, to encour- 
age young beginners in trade." His habitual industry and 
nndevi&ting punctuality, obtained htm the notice and business 
of the principal people in the place. He instituted a club 
under the name of " toe Junto," for the purpose of the dia- 
cuBEion of political and philoBophical questions, which proved 
an excellent school for the mutual improvement of its sevenl 
members. The test proposed to every candidate, before his 
Mmission, was this ; " Do you sincerely declare that yoa 
lore mankind in general, of what profession or religioo so- 
eTer 1 Do yon think any perwn onght to be burned ia hii 

BENJAKix rBAinci.ur. 9fR 

body, name, or goods, for mere specnlatife opinioiiB, or hla 
external wav of frorship T Do you lore truth for truth's sake ; 
and will you endeavour impartially to find and receive it 
yourself, and communicate it to others." Mr. Franklin and 
his partner ventured to set up a new public paper, which hia 
own efforts aa writer and printer caused to succeed, and they 
obtained likevise the printing of the votes and laws of the 
oseembly. In process of lime, Meredith withdrew from the 
partnership, and Franklin met with friends, who enabled him 
to undertake the whole concern in his own name, and add to 
it the business of a stationer. ' 

In 1730, he married the lady to whom he was engaged be- 
fore his departure for England. During his absence he for- 
got his promises to her, and on bis return to America, he 
found her the wife of another man. Although a woman of 
many virtues, she suffered from the unkindness of her bus- 
band, who, fortunately for her, lived but a short time. Not 
I long af^r his death, Franklin again visited her, soon after 
which they were married, and for many years lived in the 
full enjoyment of connubial peace and harmony. 

In 1732, he began to publish " Poor Richard's Almanac," 
a work which was continued for twenty-five years, and which, 
besides answering the purposes of a calendar, contained 
many excellent prudential maxims, which were of great 
utility to that class of the coniraunity, who by their poverty 
or laborious occupations, were deprived of the advantages 
of education. Ten thousand copies of this almanac are 
said to have been published every year, in America. The 
maxims contained in it, were from time to time republished 
both in Great Britain, and on the continent. 

Thepolitical course of Franklinbegan in the year 1736, when 
he was appointed clerk to the general assembly of Pennsyl- 
vania ; an oJIice which he held for several years, until he was, 
at length, elected a representative. During the same year, 
he assisted in the establishment of the American Philosophi- 
cal Society, and of a college, which now exists under the title 
of the University of Pennsylvania. In (he following year he 
was appointed tg the valuable oflice of post-master of Pliilap 


delphia. In 173S he improTed the police of the dty, in r^ 
•pect to the dreadful calamity of fire, by foiming & locie^ 
called a fire company, to which was afterwards added an as- 
■nnace office, against losBea by fire. 

In 1743 he published bis treatise upon the improvement 
of chimnieB, and at the same dme contrived a store, which 
is in extensive use at the present day. 

la the French war of 1744, he proposed a plan of volun< 
lary association for the defence of the country. This was 
shortly joined by ten thousand persons, who were trained to 
'the use and exercise of arms. Franklin was chosen colonel 
of the Philadelphia regiment, but he refused the honour in 
fiiTOur of one, whom he supposed to be more competent to 
the discharge of its duties. 

During the same year he was elected a member of the pro- 
TiDciol OBsembly, in which body he soon became very popu- 
lar, and was annually re-elected by his fellow-ciiizeos for the 
space of ten years. 

About this time, the attention of Mr. Franklin was parti- 
cularly turned to philosophical subjects. In 1747, he had 
witnessed at Boston, some experiments on electricity, which 
excited hia curiosity, and which he repeated on his return 
to Philadelphia, with great success. These experiments led 
to important discoveries, an account of which was transmit- 
ted to Englond, and attracted great attentioa throughout all 

In ttie year 1749 he conceived the idea of explaining the 
phenomena of thunder gusts, and of the aurora borealis, upon 
electrical principles ; he pointed out many par^culars, in 
which lighining and electricity agreed, and he adduced many 
fiicts and reasonings in support of his positions. In the same 
year, he thought of ascertaining the truth of his doctrine by 
drawing down the forked lightning, by means of sharp 
pointed iron rods, raised into the region of the clouds. Ad- 
mitting the identity of lightning and electricity, and knowing 
the power of points in conducting away silently the electric 
fluid, he suggested the idea of securing houses, ships, iLc 
from die damages to which they were liable from lighining^ 


bf erecting pointed iron rods, which ihould rise some faet 
above the rooBt elerated part, and descend some feet into th« 
gronod, or the water. The effect of these, he conelndedt 
would t>e either to prevent a stroke, by repelling the cloud 
beyond the striking distance, or by drawing off the electrical - 
fluid, which it contained ; or at least, conduct ibe stroke to 
the earth, without any injury to the building. It was not till 
the summer of 1752, that Mr. Franklin was enabled to com- 
plete his grand experiment The plan which he proposed 
WBB, to erect on some high tower, or elevated place, a lort of 
nut, from which should rise a pointed iron rod, insulated hy 
being fixed in a cake of resin. Electrified clouds passing 
over thia, would, he conceived, imparl to it a portion of their 
electricity, which might be rendered evident to the senses by 
sparks being emitted, when the knuckle or other conductor 
was presented to it While he was waiting for the erection 
of a spire, it occurred to him, that he might have more ready 
access to the region of clouds by means of a common kite ; 
he accordingly prepared one for the purpose, affixing to the 
upright stick an iron point. The string was as usual, of 
hemp, except the lower end, which was silk, and where the 
hempen part terminated, a key was fastened. With this sim- 
ple appnrnlns, on the appesrnnceof a thunderstorm approach- 
ing, he went into the fields, accompanied by his son, to whom 
alone he communicated liia intentions, dreading probably the 
ridicule tvhich frequently awnils unsuccessful attempts in ex- 
perimental philosophy. For some time no sign of electricity 
appeared ; he was beginning to despair of snccess, when ho 
suddenly observed the loose fibres of the string to start for- 
ward in an erect position, He now presented his knuckle to 
the key, and received a strong spark. How exquisite must 
his sensations have been at this moment T On this experiment 
depended the fate of his theory ; repeated sparks were drawn 
from the key, a phial was charged, a shock given, and all the 
experiments made, which are usually performed with electri- 
city. He immediately fixed an insulated iron rod upon his 
house, which drew down the lightning, and gave him an op- 
portunity of examining whether it were positive or negadTe* 


and hence he applied his dUcorery to the securing of build- 
iaga from the efiectB of lightning. 

It will be impoHsible to enumerate all, or eren a small part 
trfthe experiments which were made by Dr. Franklin, or to 
give an account of the treatises which he wrote on the 
branches of science. Justice reqairea us to say, that he sel- 
dom wrote, or discoursed on any subject, upon which be did 
not throw light. Few men poasesBed a more penetradng 
genius, or a happier faculty of discrimination. His inveatiga- 
tions attracted tbeattention,and hit discoveries called forth the 
admiration of the learned in all parts of the world. Jealousy 
was at length excited in Europe, and attempts were made, 
not only to detract from his well earned fame, bat to rob him 
of the merit of originality. Others claimed the honour of 
having first made several of his moat brilliant exjieriments, or 
attempted to invalidate the truth and reality of those, an ac- 
count of which he had published to the world. The good 
sense of Dr. Franklin led him to oppose his adversaries only 
by silence, leaving the vindication of his merit to the slow, but 
sure operations of time. 

In ITOS he was raised to the important office of deputy 
post roaster general of America. Through ill management, 
this office had been unproductive : but soon after the appoint- 
ment of Franklin, it became e source of revenue to the British 
crown. In this station, he rendered important services to 
General Braddock, in his wild and fatal expedition against 
fort Du Quesnc. When, al length, Braddock was defeated, 
and the whole frontier was exposed to the incursions of the 
savages and the French, Franklin raised a company of volun- 
teers, at the head of which he marched to the protection of 
the frontier. 

At length, in 17B7, the miliiia was disbanded by order of 
the British government, soon after which Franklin was ap- 
pointed Qgcnt to settle the disputes which had arisen between 
the people of PennsylvaniH, and the proprietary governmenL 
'With this object in view, he left his native country once more 
for England. On bis arrival, he laid the subject before the 
privy eonnelL The point in dispute «aa oc«a«ioned 1^ aa 

BSNIAMtM nuKKUir. 971 

effort of the proprietors to exempt their private estatea from 
taxation ; and because this exemptioo was not admitted, they 
refused to m&ke appropriatioiiB for the defence of the pro- 
Tince, even ia times of the greatest danger and necessity. 
Franklin managed the subject with great ability, end at length 
brought the proprietary faction to terms. It was agreed, 
that the proprietary lands should take their share in a tax for 
the public service, provided that Franklin would engage that 
the assessment should be fairly proportioned. The measure 
was accordingly earned into effect, and he remained at 
the British court as agent for his province. His reputation 
caused him also to be entrusted with the like commission 
from Massachusetts, Maryland, and Georgia. The molesta- 
tion received by the British colonies, from the French in 
Canada, induced him to write a pamphlet, pointing out the 
advantages of a conquest of that province by the English; and 
the aubacqueat expedition against it, and its retention under 
the British government, at the peace, were, it is believed* 
much influenced by the force of bis arguments on the subject. 
About this period, his talents as a philosopher were duly 
appreciated in various parts of Europe. He was admitted a 
fellow of the royal society of London, and the degree of doc- 
tor of laws was conferred upon him at St. Andrews, Edin- 
burgh, and at Oxford. 

In 1762 he returned to America. On his arrival the pro- 
vincial assembly of Pennsylvania expressed tbeir sense of his 
meritorious services by a vote of thanks ; and as a remune- 
ration for his successful labours in their behalf^ they granted 
him the sum of five thousand dollars. During his absence, he 
had annually been elected a member of the assembly, in 
which body he now took his seat. The following year ho 
made a joUmey of sixteen hundred miles, through the nor- 
thern colonies, for the purpose of inspecting and regulating 
the post offices. 

In 17&4, he was again appointed the agent of Pennsylvania, 
to manage her concerns in England, in which country he ar- 
rived in the month of December. About this period the 
fiunons stamp act was exciting violent commotions in Ameriea. 


Againflt this measure, Dr. Franklin strongly enlisted himaeK 
and on his arriral in England, he preaented a petition agaiost 
it, which, at his auggefltion, had been drawn up by the Penn- 
■ylrania assembly. At length the tumults in America became 
M gfreat, that the ministry found it necessary either to modify 
the act, or to repeal it entirely. Among other*, Dr. Franklin 
was summoned before the house of commons, where he un- 
derwent a long examination. " No person was better ac- 
qnainled with the circurastancea and internal concerns of the 
colonies, the temper and disposition of the colonists towards 
the parent country, or their feelings in relation to the late 
measures of parliament, than this gentleman. His answers 
to the numerous questions pat to him in the course of 
this inquiry, not only show his extensive acquaintance with 
the internal slate of the colonics, but erince his sagacity as a 
statesmen. To the question, whether the Americana would 
submit to pay the stamp duty if the act were modified, and 
the duty reduced to a small amount ? He answered, no, they 
never will submit to it. British elateamen were extremely 
desirous that the colonial assemblies should acknowledge the 
right of parliament to tax Ihem, and rescind and erase from 
their journals their re>iolutions on this subjccL To a ques- 
tion, whether the American asBcmblics would do this, Di. 
Franklin answered, ' they ncTcr will do it, unless compelled 
by force of arms.' " 

T^ic whole of this examination on being published was 
read with deep interest, both in England and Amenen. To 
the statements of Dr. Franklin, the repeal of the stamp act 
was, no doubt, in a great measure, attributable. 

lu the year 1706, and 17fi7, he made an excursion to Hol- 
land, Germany, and France, where he met with a most flat- 
tering and distinguished reception. To the monarch of the 
latter country, Louis XV., he was introduced, and also lo 
Other members of the royal family, by whom, as well as by 
the nobility and gentry at court, he was treated with great 
hoapitality and courtesy. About this time, he was elected a 
'X of the French Academy of Sciences, and receired 


diplomas £roin several other liteniy loeietiea in England, 
and on the continent. 

Allnsion has already been made, in onr introduetioa, to the 
discovery and publication, in 1773, of certain letters of Go- 
vernor Hutchinson, addressed by that gentleman to hia 
friends in England, and which reflected in the severest mai^ 
ner upon the people of America. These letters had fallen 
into the hands of Dr. Franklin, and by him had been trans- 
milted to America, where they were at length inserted in the 
publie journals. For a time, no one in England knew 
through what channel the letters had been conveyed lo 
America. In 1773, Franklin publicly avowed himself to be 
the person who obtained the letters and transmitted them lo 
America. This occasioned a violent clamour against him, 
and upon his attending before the privy council, in the fol- 
lowing January, to present a petition from the colony of 
Massachusetts, for the dismission of Mr. Hutchinson, a most 
violent invective was pronounced against him, by Mr. Wed- 
deburne, afterwards Lord Looghborough. Among other 
abusive epithets, the honourable member called Franklin m 
coward, a murderer, and a thief. During the whole of Urn 
torrent of abuse, Franklin sat with a composed and unaverted 
aspect, or, to use his own expression, in relation to himself 
on another occasion, "as if his countenance had been made 
of wood." During this personal and public insult, the whole 
assembly appeared greatly amused, at the expense of Dr. 
Franklin. The president even laughed aloud. There was a 
single person present, however. Lord North, who, to hia 
honour be it recorded, expressed great disapprobation of the 
indecent conduct of the assembly. The intended insult, 
however, was entirely lost. The dignity and composure of 
Franklin caused a sad disappointment among liis enemies, 
who were reluctantly compelled to acknowledge the superi- 
ority of his character. Their animosity, however, was not 
to be appeased, but by doing Franklin the greatest injury 
within their power. They removed him from the office of 
deputy post master general, interrupted the payment of hia 
salary as agent for the colonies, and finally instituted 

274 FENxavLTAXiA bklesatiov. 

■g&iDEt Mm a suit in rhancery concerning tho Idlers of 
Hutch inaon. 

At length, finding all his effotta to restore htumony be^ 
tween Gretit Britaia itnil the colonica useless ; and poreftir- 
ing that iho controversy hail reached a crisis, when his pre- 
sence in England was no longer neccsssry, and his coDtinu- 
ance personally hazardous, he embarked for AmGrica, where 
he arrived in 1775, just after the commencement of hoBtililies. 
He was received with every mark of esteem and btTeelion. 
He was immediately elected a delegate to the general con- 
gress, in which body he did as much, perhaps, as any other 
man. to accomplish the independence of bis country. 

In 1776, he was deputed by congress to proceed lo Canada, 
to negociale with the people of that country, and lo persunde 
them, if possible, to ihrow off the British yoke ; but the in- 
habitants of Canada had been so much disgusted with the seal 
of the people of New-England, who had burnt some of their 
chapels, that they refused to listen to the proposals made to 
them i)V Dr. Franklin and his associates. On ilie nrrival of 
Lord Howe in America in 1776, he entered upon a correspon- 
dence with him on the subject of rcconciUation. He was 
afterwards appointed, with two others, to wait upon the En^ 
lish commissioners, and learn tlie extent of their powers; 
but as these only went to the granting of pardon upon sub- 
mission, he joined his colleagues in considering them as in> 
sufficient. Dr. Frankhn was decidedly in favour of a dccla 
ration of independence; and was appointed president of the 
convention assembled for the purpose of establishing a new 
government for the slate of Pennsylvania. When it was 
determined by congress lo open a public ncgociation with 
France, he was commissioned to visit that country, with 
which he negotiated the treaty of alliance, olfensive and de- 
fensive, which produced an immediate war between England 
and France. Dr. Franklin was one of the commissioners 
who, on the part of the United States, signed the provincial 
articles of peace in 1782, and the dcrniitive treaty in the fol- 
lowing year. Before he left Europe, he concluded a treaty 
with Sweden and PniSFJo. By llie laitcr, he obtained severs^ 

xsirjAMiK TBAmLn. ins 

most liberal and humane stipulationa in favour of the free- 
dom of commerce, and the securitjr of private property 
daring war, in conformity to Ihoae principles which he had 
ever maintained on these anbiectc. Having seen the accom- 
plishmcnt of hia wishes in the independence of his country, 
he requested to be recalled, and after repeale'd solicitationa, 
Mr. Jefferson was appointed in his stead. On the arrival of 
his successor, he repaired to Havre de Grace, and crossing 
the English channel, landed at Newport in the Isle of Wighli 
whence, after a favourable passage, lie arrived safe at Phila- 
delphia, in September, 11%. 

The news of his arrival, was received with great joy by 
the citizens. A vast multitude flocked from all parts to see 
him,and amidst the ringing of bells, the discharge of artillery, 
the acclamations of thouaands, conducted him in triumph to 
his own house. In a few days, he was visited by the mem- 
hers of congress, and the priDcipal inhabitants of Philadel- 
phia. From numerous societies and assemblies he received 
the most affeclionatc addresses. All testified their joy at his 
return, and their veneration of his exalted character. 

This was a period in hb life of which he often spoke with 
peculiar pleasure. "I am now," said he, " in the bosora of 
my family, and find four new little prattlers, who cling about 
the knees of their grandpapa, and afibrd me great pleasure. 
1 am surrounded by my friends, and have an affectionate 
good daughter and son-in-law to take care of mc, I have 
got into my niche, a very good house, which I built twenty- 
fonr years sgo, and out of which I have been ever since kept 
by foreign employments." 

The domestic tranquillity in which he now found himself, 
he was not permitted lung to enjoy, being appointed presi- 
dent of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, an office which 
be held for three years, and tlie duties of which he discharged 
very acceptably to his constituents. Of the federal conven 
tion of 1787, for urgHnbiiig the constitution of the United 
States, he was elected a delegate, and in the intricate discus- 
sions which arose on different porta of that inatnunent, he 
bore a distingiiished p*rt. 


Ib ITBS, he withdrew from public life, hia grekt age na 
dering retiremeat desirable, and the iufirmitiea of bis body 
unfitting him for the burdens of public office. Oq the 17th 
of April, 17W, io the eighljT'fourth year of his age, he ex- 
l^red, in the city of Philadelphia. He was interred on the 
2lBt of April. ' Cangreas directed a general monming for 
him, throughout the United States, for the space of a month. 
The national assembly of France testified their sense of the 
losa which the world sustained, by decreeing that each mem- 
ber should wear mourning for three days. This was an bo- 
nouT perhaps never before paid by the national assembly of 
one country, to a citizen of another. Dr. Franklin lies bo* 
ried in the northwest corner of Christ Chnrch yard, in Phila- 
delphia. In his will he directed that no monumental orna- 
ments should be placed upon his tomb. A small marble 
slab only, therefore, and that, too, on a level with the ear- 
6ce of the earth, bearing the name of himself and wife, and 
the year of his death, marks the spot in the yard where he 

Dr. Franklin had tvo children, a son and a daughter. The 
son, under the British government, was appointed governor 
of New-Jersey. On the occurrence of the revolution, he left 
Americo, and took up hia residence in England, where he 
spent the remainder of his life. The daughter was respecta- 
bly married in Phi lade 1 phi h, to Mr. William Bache, whose 
descendants still reside in that city. 

In stature. Dr. Franklin was shove the middle size. He 
possessed a healthy constitution, and was remarkable for hia 
strength and activity. His countenance indicated a serene 
state of mind, great depth of thought, and an inflexible re- 

In his intercourse \nth mankind, he was uncommonly 
agreeable. In conversation, he abounded in curious and in< 
teresling anecdote. A vein of good humour marked his con- 
versation, and strongly recommended him to both old and 
young, to the learned and illiterate. 

As a philosopher, he justly ranks high. In his specnh- 
tions, he seldom lost sight of common aense, or yielded t^ 


his nnderatanding either to enthmuam or &iilhoritjr. He 
contributed, in no enull degree, to the eztenrion of icience, 
and to the improTemont of the eonditioD of mankind. He 
appears to hare entertained, at some periods of hia life, opi- 
niona which were in many respecta pernliar, and which pro* 
bablf were not founded upon a sound philosophy. The fol- 
lowing experiment, which he made some years after his fa- 
iher'a death, and after an absence of seven) yesra, to ascer- 
tain whether his mother would know him, will be thonght at 
least curious and interesting. It was his conjecture, if not k 
well settled opinion, that a mother might, by a kind of in- 
stinct or natural affection, recognize her children, even al- 
though she had lost the recollecdon of their particular fea- 
tures. It was on a visit to his native town of Boston, after 
an absence of many years, that this curious incident oc- 

" To discover the existence of this instinct by actual ex- 
periment," says an unknown writer, to whorc we are indebt- 
ed for the story, and upon whose responsibility we give it to 
our readers, " the Doctor resolved to introduce himself as a 
stranger to his mother, and to watch narrowly for the mo- 
ment in which she should discover her son, and then to de- 
termine, with the cool precision of the philosopher, whether 
that discovery was the effect of that instinct of affection, that 
intuitive love, that innate attachment, which is conjectured 
to cement relatives of the same blood; end which, by ac- 
cording the passions of parent and child, like a weU-tuoed 
viol, would, at the first touch, cause them to vibrate in uni- 
son, and Bt once evince thst they were different chords of the 
same instrument. 

" On a sullen, chilly day, in the month of January, in the 
sAemoon, the Doctor knocked at his mother's door, and 
aaked to speak with Mrs. Franklin. He found the old lady 
knitting before the parlour fire. He introduced himself, and 
observing, that he understood she entertained travellers, re- 
qnested a night's lodging. She eyed him with that cold look 
of disapprobation which most people assume, when they ima- 
gine tbemselves insulted, by being supposed to e»e»d— «■ 
SI ^ 

fn rmnLTAMiA biijuatioh. 

emplojmont but one degree below their reml oenqMtion ia 
life — usured him that he had been miunionned, ihmt aha dU 
not keep tsvem ; but that it was trnei to oblige aome mem- 
bera of the le^thtture, she took a number of them into her 
ftmily during the session ; that she had four members of tne 
eonndl, and six of the house of representatires, who then 
bo&rded with her ; that all her beds were full ; and then b^ 
took herself to her knitting, with that intense applicaliont 
which expressed, as forcibly as action could do, if you hare 
concluded your business, the sooner you leave the house the 
better. But upon the Doctor's wrapping bis coat around him, 
affecting to shirer with cold, and observing that it was Teiy 
chilly weather, she pointed to a chair, and gave him leave to 
warm himself. 

" The entrance of her boarders precluded all further con- 
versation; coffee wassoon served, and thcDoctor partook with 
the family. To the coffee, according tn the good old custom 
of the times, succeeded a plate of pippins, pipes, and a paper 
of M'Intire's best, when the whole family formed a cheerful 
smoking semi-circle before the lire. Perhaps no man ever 
possessed colloquial powers to a more fascinating degree, 
than Dr. FrankUn, and never was there an occasion when he 
displayed those powers to greater advantage, than at this 
lime. He drew the attention of the company, by the solidity 
of his modest remarks, instructing them by the varied, new, 
and striking lights in which he placed his subjects, and de- 
lighted them with apt aod amusing anecdotes. Thus employ- 
ed, the hours passed merrily along, until eight o'clock, when, 
ponctual to a moment, Mrs. Franklin announced supper- 
Busied with her household affairs, she fancied the intruding 
stranger had quitted the house, immediately aAer coffee, and 
it was with dilEculty she could restrain her resentment, when 
she saw him, without molestation, seat himself at the table 
with (he freedom of a member of the family. 

" Immediately after supper, she called an elderly genllO' 
man, a member of the council, in whom she was accustomed 
to confide, to another room ; complained bitterly of the rude 
nMi rf die ttnuiger ; told the manner'of hii introduetiDa 1^ 


lier boose ; obuned that he appeared like an oatUndiab 
man ; and, she thought, bad aomethiDg very snspicioiiB in 
hia eppeannce ; concluding by soliciting her friend's adfice 
with respect to the my in which she could most easily rid 
herself of his presence. The old gentleman assured her, 
that the stranger was certainly a young man of education, and 
to all appearance a gentleman; that, perhaps, being in agrees- 
ble company, he bid paid no attention to the lateness of the 
hour ; and advised her to call him aside, and repeat her ina- 
bility to lodge bim. She accordingly sent her maid to him, 
and then, with as much temper as she could command, reca- 
l^tulated the aituaUon of her fiimily, observed that it grew 
late, and mildly intimated that he would do well to seek him- 
self a lodging. The Doctor replied, that he would by no 
means incommode her family ; but that, with her leave, he 
would smoke one pipe more with her boarders, and then 

" He returned to the company, filled his pipe, and with 
the first whiff his powers returned with double force. He 
recounted the hardships, he extolled the piety and policy of 
their ancestors. A gentleman present mentioned the subject 
of the day's debate in the house of representatives. A bill 
had been introduced to extend the prerogatives of the royal 
governor. The Doctor immediately entered upon the sub- 
ject ; supported the colonial rights with new and forcible ar 
^umenls ; was familiar with the names of the influential men 
in the house, when Dudley was governor; recited their 
speeches, and applauded the noble defence of the charter 
of rights. 

" During a discourse so appropriately interesting to tho 
company, no wonder the clock struck eleven, nnperceiv- 
ed by the delighted circle ; and was it wonderful that the 
patience of Mrs. Franklin grew quite eshausied ! She now 
entered the room, and, before the whole company, with much 
warmth, addressed the Doctor ; told him plainly, she thought 
herself imposed on ; observed, it was true she was a lone 
woman, but that she had friends who would protect her, and 
concluded by insisting on his learlBg the hoae. Tt» Dq»> 



tor made a alight apology, deliberately put on his g;reat cost 
and hat, took polite leave of the company, and approaehed 
the street door, lighted by the maid, and attended by the mia- 
trcM. While the Doctor and bis companions had been en- 
joying ihenuelvei withio. a most tremendous anow storm had, 
withonl. filled the streets knee deep ; and no sooner had the 
maid lifled the latch, than a roaring northeaster forced open 
the door, extinguished the light, and almost filled the entry 
with drifted snow and hail. As soon as it was re-lighted, the 
Doctor cast a woful look towards the door, and thus address- 
ed his mother: ' My dear madam, can yoa torn me out in 
diis dreadful storm t I am a stranger in this town, and shall 
certainly perish in the streets. Yon look like a charitable 
kdy; I shouldn't think yoti could turn a dog from your 
door, in this tempestuous night.' * Don't tell me of charity,' 
said the offended matron ; ' cliarity begins at home. It is 
your own fault you tarried so long. To be plain with yon, 
sir, I do not like your looks, or your conduct ; and I fear 
you have some bad designs in thus introducing yourself to my 

" The warmth of this parley had drawn the company from 
the parlour, and by their united interference the stranger 
was permitted to lodge in the house ; and as no bed could 
be had, he consented to rest on an easy chair before (he par- 
lour fire. Although the boarders appeared to confide, per- 
fectly, in the stranger's honesty, it was not so with Mrs. 
Franklin. With suspicious caution, she collected her silver 
spoons, pepper-boz, and porringer, from her closet; and, 
aAer securing her parlour door, by sticking a fork over the 
latch, carried the plate to her chamber ; charged the negro 
man to sleep with his clothes on, to take the great lever to 
b«d with him, and to waken and seize the vagrant at the firat 
noise he made, in attempting to plunder the house. Having 
thus token every precaution, she retired to her bed with her 
maid, whom she compelled to sleep in her room. 

" Mrs. Franklin rose before the sun, roused her domestics, 
unfastened the parlour door with timid caution, and was 
agreeably surprised to find her guest sleeping on his own 

aWjAXW luauub 961 

chair. A ludden traoBitioa fion extreme distrait to perAct 
confldeace, was natural She awakened him with a cheerAiI 
good morniag ; inquired how he rested ; invited him to par- 
take of her breakfast, which was alweyi served preTiouB to 
that of her boarders. ' And pray, sir,' sud the lady, as ahe 
sipped her chocolate, ' as you appear to be a stranger here, 
to what distant country do you belong V '1, madam, belong to 
the city of Philadelphia.' At the mention of Philadelphia, 
the Doctor declared he, for the first time, perceived some emo- 
tion in her. ' Philadelphia P said she, and all the mother 
suflused her eye : ' if you lire in Philadelphia, perhaps you 
know our Ben.' ' Who, madam V ' Why Ben Franklin — my 
Ben. — Oh ! he is the dearest child that ever blest a mother !' 
'What,' said the Doctor, 'is Ben Franklin, the printer, your 
son ; why he is my most intimate friend : he and 1 lodge in 
\ the same room.' ' Oh ! God forgive me,' exclaimed the old 
lady, raising her watery eyes to heaven — ' and have I suffered 
a friend of my Benny to sleep in this hard chair, while I my> 
self rested on a good bed?' 

" How the Doctor discovered himself to his mother, he 
lias not informed us ; but from the above experiment, he was 
firmly convinced, and was often afterwards heard to declare, 
that natural aficction did not exist." 

Few men have exhibited a more worthy conduct than did 
Dr. Franklin, through his long life. Through every vicissi- 
tude of fortune, he seems to have been distinguished for his 
sobriety and temperance, for his exiraordinary perseverance 
and resolution. He was not less distinguished for his veracity, 
for the constancy of )iis friendship, for his candour, and his 
fidelity to his moral and civil obligations. In the early part 
of his life, he acknowledged himself lo have been sceptical in 
religion, but he became in maturer years, according to the tes- 
timony of his intimate friend. Dr. William Smith, a believer in 
divine revelation. The following extract from his memoirs, 
written by himself, deserves to be recorded: " And here let 
me with all humility acknowledge, that to Divine Providence 
I am indebted for the felicity I have hitherto enjoyed. It is 
that powst alone which has furnished me with the nmm I 
30 M» J 


hare employed, and that has crowned ihem with suceeaa. 
VLy &ith in this respect leads me to hope, though I cannot 
connt upon it, that the dirine goodneai will still be ex^cised 
towards me, either by prolonging the dnralion of my happi- 
ness [o the close of life, or by giving me fortitude to support 
any melancholy reverse which may happen to me as well at 
to many others. My future fortune is unknown but to Hira, 
in whose hand is our destiny, and who can make our rery 
afflictions subservient to our benefiL" 

We conclude our notice of this distinguished roan and 
profound philoaopher, by subjoining the following epitaph, 
which was written by himself, many years previously to hia 



Like the cover of ui old book, 

iU conlCDts torn out, 

and Btript of its Itttcting sad gilding', 

lia hen: food for wormB; 

Yet Ibc work itself aliall not be loci, 

Pot it vUl {u he believed) sppcKr once more 

■ind more bcsutillil cditioo, 

Corrected uid uneiidcd 

by the Author. 


John Morton was a native of Ridley, in the county of 
Cheater, now Delaware, Ilia ancestors were of Swedish ex- 
traction, and among the first Swedish emigrants, who loca- 
ted themselves on the banks of the Delaware. His father, 
after whom he was called, died a few months previously to his 
birth. Hia mother was some time after married to an Eng- 
lisbman, who possessed a more than ordinary education, and 
who, with great IdndneBS, on young Hortoa'a becoming of 


the proper age. ntperintended and directed hii ednntion st 
home. Here his active miad rapidly expanded, and gavo 
promise or the important pan which he was destined to act 
in the subsequent history of his country. 

Alwut the year 1764, he was commissioned as a jaitice of 
the peace, and was sent as a delegate to the general assembly 
of Pennsylvania. Of this body he was for many years an 
active and distinguished member, and for some time the 
speaker of the house of representatives. The following year 
he was appointed by the house of representatives of Pennsyl- 
vania to attend the general congress at New- York. The 
object and proceedings of this congress are too well known to 
need a recital in this place. 

In 1760, Mr. Morton was appointed sheriff of the connty 
in which he lived, an office which he continued to hold for 
the three following years, and the duties of which he dia- 
cliargcd with great satisfaction to the public. Some time 
after, he was elevated to a seat on the bench, in the superior 
court of Pennsylvania. 

Of the memorable congress of 1774 he was a member, and 
continued to represent the state of Pennsylvania in the national 
assembly, through the memorable session of that body which 
gave birth to the declaration of American Independence. 

On the occurrence of the momentous subject of independ- 
ence, in the conlinental congress, Mr. Morton unexpectedly 
found himself placed in a dehcate and trying situation. Pre* 
viously to the 4th of July, the states of Delaware and Pennsyl 
vania had voted in opposition to that measure. Great doubts 
were therefore entertained by the other members of con- 
gress, how the Pennsylvania and Delaware delegations would 
act. Much was obviously depending upon them, for it was 
justly apprehended, that should these two slates decline to 
accede to the measure, the result might prove most unfortu* 
oate. Happily, the votes of both these slates were, at length, 
secured in favour of independence. But, as the delegation 
from Pennsylvania were equally divided, it fell to Mr. Mor- 
ton to give his casting vote. The responsibility which ho 
thus assumed was great, and even fearful, shoidd the n 


be attended by disastious results. Hr. Horton, howerar, 
was a man of firmaess sad decision, and, in the >fHrit of tnw 
patriotiBm, he enrolled liis role in tavonr of the liberty of hia 
country. Considering his novel and solemn situatioB, he de- 
■erres to be remembered with peculiar respect, by the free 
and independent yeomanry of America. 

In the following year, he asHiated in organiung a system of 
eonfed era lion, and was chairntan of the committee of tho 
whole, at the time it was finally agreed to, on the l&th of No- 
vember, 1777. During the same year, he was seized with an 
inflammatory fever, which, after a few days, ended his mor> 
tal existence, in the 54th year of his age. Mr. Morion was a 
professor of religion, and a truly excellent man. To the 
poor he was ever kind ; and to an afiectionate family, consist* 
ing of a wife, three sons, and five daughters, he waa an affec- 
tionale husband and father. His only enemies were those 
who would not forgive him because of his vole in favour of 
independence. During his last sickness, and even on the 
verge of the eternal worltl, he remembered ihem, and re- 
quested those who stood round him, to tell them, that the 
hour would yet rame, when it would be acknowledged, that 
his vote in favour of American independence was the most il- 
lustrious act of his life. 


Gboroe Clyner was born in the city of Philadelphia, in 
the year 1739. His father was descended from a respecta- 
ble family of Bristol, in England ; and after his emigration 
to America became connected by marriage with a lady in 
Philadelphia. Young C)ymer was left an orphan at the age 
of seven years, upon which event the care of him devolved 
upon William Coleman, a maternal uncle, a gentleman of 
much iwpeetabili^ among the cilizeni of Philadelphia. 

OBOKOS OLTnm. 98» 

Tie education of y oong Clym«r was snperinlended bjr his 
ancle, than whom few men were better qualified for auch a 
charge. The uncle possessed a cultivated mind, and early 
instilled into his nephew a lore of reading. On the comple- 
tion of bis education, he entered the counting-room of hia 
uncle. His genius, however, was little adapted to mercandle 
employments, being more inclined to literary and scientific 
pursuits. At a suitable period he commenced business for 
himself, in connexion with Mr. Robert Ritchie, and afterwarda 
with two gentlemen, father and son, by the name of Mere- 
diths, a daughter of the former of whom he subeequently 

Although Mr. Clymer embarked in the pursuits of com- 
merce, and continued engaged in that business for many 
years, he was always decidedly opposed to iL During his 
mercantile operations, be found much time to read. He 
was distinguished for a clear and original mind ; and though 
he nerer pursued any of the learned professions, he became 
well versed in the principles of law, history, and polilica. 

At the age of twenty-seven, he was married, as has already 
been noticed, (o a daughter of Mr. Meredith, a genlleman of 
a generous and elevated mind, as the following anecdote of 
him will show. While yet a yonng man. General Washing- 
ton hod occasion to visit Philadelphia, where he was an en- 
tire stranger. Happening in at the public house where 
Washington lodged, Mr. Meredith observed him, inquired his 
name, and finding him to be a stranger in the place, invited 
him to the hospitalities of his house, and kindly insisted upon 
his continuance with his family while he remained in the 
city. This accidental acquaintance led to a friendship of 
many years continuance, and at Mr. Meredith's, Washington 
ever after made it his home when he visited Philadelphia. 

Mr. Clymer may be said to have been by nature a repub- 
lican. He was, also, a firm and devoted patriot. His feel- 
ings were strongly enlisted, at an early age, againat the arbi- 
trary acts of the British government. Gifted with a sort of 
prescience, he foresaw what was meditated against his coun- 
try, and was ready to hazard every interest in support of th« 


pUl>n of American freedom. Hence, when eoneilUtorjr 
meuares with the parent conntn were found muTuling, he 
wkB oDe of the foremost to adopt meaaures neeeaaary for de- 
fence. He early accepted a eaptsin'B conuninion in a com- 
pany of volunteers, raiaed for the defence of the province, 
and manfully opposed, in 1T73, the aale of tea, which was 
■ent out by the British government for the purpose of indi- 
rectly levying; a contribution on the Americans without their 
ctmsenL Never was a plan more artfully laid by (he minia- 
try of Great Britain ; never was an attack upon American 
liberty more covert and insidious ; and never was a defeat 
more complete and mortifying. On the arrival of tha tea 
destined to Philadelphia, the citizens of that place, in a nume- 
rous meeting, adopted the most spirited resolutions, the ob- 
ject of which was to prevent the sale of it. A committee 
was appointed, of which Mr. Clymer was chairman, to wait 
Upon the consignees, and to request them not to attempt to 
sell it This was a delicate office ; the committee, how- 
ever, fearlessly and faithfully discharged (he duties of their 
appointment ; and not a single pound of tea was offered for 
•ale in the city of Philadelphia. 

Id 1776, Mr. Clymer was chosen a member of the council 
of safety, and one of the first continental treasurers. On the 
20th of July, of the following year, he was elected a member 
of the continental congress ; and though not present when 
the vote was taken on the question of independence, he had 
the honour of affixing his signature to that instrument in the 
following month. 

In September, Mr. Clymer was appointed to viait Ticon- 
deroga, in conjunction with Mr. Stockton, to inspect the 
afiura of the northern army. In December of the same 
year, congress, finding it necessary to adjourn to Baltimore, 
in consequence of the advance of the British army towards 
Philadelphia, left Mr. Clymer, Robert Morris, and George 
Walton, a committee to transact such business in that city as 
might be found necessary. 

la 1777, Mr. Clymer was again a member of congress. 
Hia duties during thia •ession were particnUrly m 

oniog to his unremitting exertioDS, he wu obliged to retire 
for a tetuon, for the recorery of his health. 

Dnring the fill of this distressing year, the family of Mr. 
Clymer, which, at that time resided in the connty of Cheater 
about twenty-five miles from Philadelphia, sufiered Beverely, 
in consequence vi an attack by a band of British soldiers. 
The fumimre of the house was destroyed, and a large stock 
of liqnors shared a similar fete. Fortunately, the &mily 
made their escape. Mr. Clymer was then in Philadelphia. 
On the arriral of the British in that place, they sought out 
his residence, and were proceeding to tear it down, and were 
only diverted from their purpose by the information, that the 
house did not belong to him. 

During this year, Mr. Clymer was appointed a commis- 
sioner, in conjunction with several other gentlemen, to pro- 
ceed to Pittsbvrg, un the important and confidential service, 
of preserving a good understanding with several Indian tribes 
in that country, and particularly to enlist warriors from the 
Shawanese and Delaware indians into the service of the 
United States. During his residence at Pittsburg, he nar- 
rowly escaped death from the tomahawk of the enemy, 
having, in an excursion to visit a friend, accidentally and for- 
tunately taken a route which led him to avoid a party of 
savages, who murdered a white man at the very place where 
Mr. Clymer must have been, had he not chosen a different 

In our biographical sketch of Robert Morris, we have 
given some account of the establishment of a bank by the 
patriotic cilizenit of Philadelphia, the object of which was 
the relief of the army, which, in 1790, was suffering such a 
combination of calamities, as was likely to lead to its dis- 
banding. Of the advocates of this measure, Mr. Clymer 
was one, and from the active and efficient support which he 
gave to the bank, he was selected as a director of the insti- 
tution. By means of this bank, the pressing wants of the 
army were relieved. Congress, by a resolve, testified the 
high sense which they entertained of the generosity Mtd p»- 
tiiottsm of the association, and pledged the hiA tUtm 


•MB riirifaTLTAiiiA bu-eoatioii. 

United Statea to the aubscribers to the bank. Tor their oltt- 
m&te reimbarBement and indemnity. 

Hr. Clj^mer wu again elected to congress in 1780 ; from 
which time, for nearly two years, he \ras absent from hit 
seat but a few weeks, so faithfully and indefatigably atten- 
tive was he to the public service. In the latter part of 11S% 
he removed with his family to Princeton, in New-Jersey, 
for the purpose of giving to his children the advantages 
of a collegiate education, in the seminary in that place. After 
the many toils and privations through which he had passed, 
it WBH a luxury, indeed, to enjoy the peace of domestic life, 
especially having to reflect that tiie glorious object for which 
he and his fellow-conn trymca had laboured so long, was 
now with certainty soon to be accomplished. 

In 17S1, Mr. Clymer was again summoned by the citizens 
of Pennsylvania, to take a part in the general assembly of 
that Slate. Of this body he continued a member until the 
meeting of the convention to form a more efficient constitn- 
lion for the general government; of which latter body be wis 
elected a member, and aller the adoption of the constitution, 
he represented the state of Pennsylvania, in congress, for 
two years ; when declining a re-election, he closed bis long 
and able legislative career. 

In the year 1791, congress passed a bill imposing a duty 
on spirits distilled in the United Stales. To the southern 
and western part of the country, this duty was singularly 
obnosious. At the head of the excise department, in the 
stale oT Pennsylvania, Mr. Clymer was placed. The duties 
of this office were rendered cslrenicly disagreeable, by rea- 
son of the general dissatisfaction, which prevailed on account 
of the law. This dissalis faction was particularly strong in 
the district of Pennsylvania lying west of the Alleghany 
mountains, and here the spirit of discontent broke out into 
acts of open opposition. At the risk of his life, Mr. Clymer 
made a visit to this theatre of insurrection, to ascertain the 
existing stale of things, and if possible to allay the spirit of 
opposition, which was manifesting itself. His instructions, 
howerer, were to limited, that he was able to produce bat 

lilUe efibct upon the lurbaleot and heated miDds of die fitc- 
tion. Soon after his return, he was indneed to resign an 
office, which, from the difficulty of bithfuDy diacharging it. 
liad become extremely' diasgreeable to him. 

In the year 1796, Mr. Glymer was appointed, together with 
Colonel Hawkina and Colonel Pickins, to negotiate a treaty 
with the Cherokee and Creek indian«, in Georgia. With 
this object in view, he sailed from Philadelphia for Sarannab. 
in the month of April, accompanied by his wife. Their 
voyage proved not only exceedingly unpleasant, but extreme- 
ly hazardous, in conaequence of a violent storm, during 
which, the crew were for several days obliged to labour in- 
ceasantly at die pumps. Having sati a factor! ly completed the 
bnainess of his mission, he again returned to Philadelphia. 
At this time, he cloned his political life, and retired to the 
enjoyment of that rest which he justly coveted, after having 
served his conntry, with but few short intervals, for more 
than twenty years. 

At a subsequent date, he was called to preside over tbe 
Philadelphia bank, and over the Academy of Fine Arta, and 
was elected a vice president of the Philadelphia Agricultural 
Society, upon its re-organization, in 1805. These offices he 
held at llie time of his death, which occurred on the 23d of 
January, 1813, in the 74th year of his age. 

llie following extracts from an eloquent euloginm, pro- 
Dounced before the Academy of Fine Arts, upon the charac- 
ter of Mr. Clymer, by Joseph Hopkinson, Esq. may pro- 
perly conclude this brief biographical notice. After allnding 
to the election of Mr. Clymer to the presidency of the Aca- 
demy of Fine Arts, Mr. Hopkinson happily observes ; " At 
different periods of onr national history, from the first bold 
•tep which was taken in the march of independence, to its 
full and perfect conaummation in the establishment of a wise 
aDd effective system of government, whenever the virtue and 
talents of our country were put in requisition, Mr. Clymer 
was found with the selected few, to whom om' rights and 
destinies were committed. 

" When posterity shall ponder on the declantion of Jslr 

ap » 


ITTBi mi ftdmire, with deep amaiement and Tenenlion, tlie 
eoarage and patriotism, the rirtue and Klf-deTotion of the 
deed) they will find the name of ClyTner there. Whea 
the etrength aod splendonr of this empire shall hereafter be 
duplayed in the fulness of maturity, (hearen grant we reach 
it|) and the future politician shall look at that scheme of go- 
Tsmment, l^ which the whole resources of a nation have 
been thus brosght into action ; by which power has been 
muntained, and liberty not overtiirown; by which the people 
hare been governed and directed, but not enslaved or op- 
IH«Hed ; they will find that Clymer was one of the fathers 
of the country, from whose wisdom and experience the sys- 
tem emanated. Nor was the confidence, which had grown 
ont of his political life and services, his only claim to the 
alation which he held in this institution. Although his 
modest, unassuming spirit nerer sought public dbplays of his 
merit, but rather withdrew him from the praise, that was his 
due ; yet he could not conceal from his friends, nor his 
friends from the world, the estraordinary improvement of 
his mind. Retired, studious, contemplative, he was ever 
adding something to his knowledge, and endeavouring to make 
that knowledge useful. Mis predominant passion was to 
promote every scheme for (he improvement of his country, 
whether in science, agriculture, polite education, the useful 
or the fine arts. Accordingly, we find his name in every as- 
sociation fur these purposes ; and wherever we find him, we 
also find his usefulness. Possessed of all that sensibility and 
delicacy, essential to taste, he had of course a peculiar fond- 
ness for the line arts, elegant literature, and the refined pur- 
suits of a cultivated genius. It was in the social circle of 
friendship that his Bcquirementa were displayed and appre- 
aated, and although their action was communicated from 
this circle to a wider sphere, it was with an enfeebled force. 
His intellects were strong by nature, and made more so by 
culture and study ; but he was diffident and retired. Capa 
ble vf teaching, he seemed only anxious to learn, ^rm, bul 
not obstinate ; independent, but not arrogant ; communica- 
Uve, but not obtrusive, he was at once the amiable and in- 

1AMS8 miTH. Wf 

ttrncthre companion. His researches had been various, and* 
if not always profound, they were competent to his purposes, 
and beyond his pretensions. Science, literature, and the arts, 
had all a share of his attention, and it was only by a frequent 
intercourse with him, we discovered how much he knew of 
each. The members of this board have all witnessed the 
kindness and urbanity of his manners. Sufficiently fixed in 
his own opinions, he gave a liberal toleration to others, as- 
suming no offensive or unreasonable control over the conduct 
of those with whom he was associated." 

In a subsequent part of his discourse, Mr. Hopkinson, allu- 
ding to the value of a punctual performance of our promises, 
remarks : '* In this most useful virtue, Mr. Clymer was pre- 
eminent. During the seven years he held the presidency of 
this academy, his attention to the duties of the station were 
without remission. He excused himself from nothing that 
belonged to his office; he neglected notliing. He never once 
omitted to attend a meeting of the directors, unless prevented 
by sickness or absence from the city ; and these exceptions 
were of very rare occurrence. He was indeed the first to 
come ; so that the board never waited a moment for their 
president. With other public bodies to which he was at- 
tached, I understand, he observed the same punctual and con- 
scientious discharge of his duty. It is thus that men make 
themselves useful, and evince that they do not occupy placet 
of this kind merely as empty and undeserved compliments, but 
for the purpose of rendering all the services which the place 
requires of them." 


/ James Smith, the subject of the following memoir, was a 
native of Ireland ; but in what year he was bom is unknown. 
This was a secret which, even to his relations and ftifBdip b^ 


Tould never communiuu, and the knowledge of it wta 
buried with him in the greve. It ia eonjeeturedt however, 
that he was bom between the years 1715 and 1730. 

His father was a respectable fanner, who removed to Ame- 
rica with a numerous family, and settled on the west ude of 
the Suaqnehanna. He died in the year 1761. James, who 
was his aecond son, received his education from the distin- 
guished Dr. Allison, provost of the college of Philadelphia. 
Hia attainments in classical literature were reapecuble. In 
the art of surveying, which at that early period of the coun- 
try was of great importance, he is said to have excelled. 
After finishing his education, he applied himself to the study 
of law, in the office of Thomas Cookson, of Lancaster. On 
being qualified for his profession, he took up his residence as 
a lawyer and surveyor, near the present town of Shippens- 
burg ; but some time after, he removed to the flourishing vil> 
lage of York, where he established himself, and continued the 
practice of his profession during the remainder of his life. 

On the occurrence of the great contest between Great 
Britain and her American colonics, Mr. Smith entered with 
seal into the patriotic cause, and on a meeting of delegates 
from all the counties of Pennsylvania in 1774> convened to 
express the public sentiment, on the expediency of abstaining 
from importing any goods from England, and assemblings 
general congress, Mr. Smith was a delegate from the county 
of York, and was appointed one of the committee to report a 
dnft of instruction to the general assembly, which was then 
about to meet. At this time, a desire prevailed throughoul 
the country, that the existing dithculties between (he mother 
country and the colonies should be settled, without a resort 
to arms. Mr. Smith, however, it appears, was disposed to 
adopt vigorous and decided measures, since, on his return to 
York, he was the means of raising a volunteer company, 
which was the first volunteer corps raised in Pennsylvania, in 
Opposition to the armies of Great Britain. Of this company 
be was elected captain, and when, at length, it increased to a 
raiment, he was appointed colonel of that regiment; a titUi 

f JAHE8 SMITH. 203 

howerer, which in respect to him was honoraxy, since he 
never assumed the actual commaud. 

In January, 1T75, the convention for the province of Penn- 
sylvania was assembled. Of this convention, Mr. Smith was 
a member, and concurred in the spirited declaration made by 
that convention, that '* if the British administration should 
determine by force to effect a submission to the late arbi- 
trary acts of the British parliament, in such a situation, we 
hold it our indispensable^ duty to resist such force, and at 
every hazard to defend the rights and liberties of America.'* 

Notwithstanding this declaration by the convention, a great 
proportion of the Pennsylvanians, particularly the numerous 
body of Quakers, were strongly opposed, not only to war, 
but even to a declaration of independence. This may be in- 
ferred from the instructions given by the general assembly to 
their delegates, who were appointed in 1775 to the general 
congress, of the following tenor : — that *• though the oppres- 
sive measures of the British parliament and administration, 
have compelled us to resist their violence by force of arms ; 
yet we strictly enjoin you, that you, in behalf of thi^ colony, 
dissent from and utterly reject any proposition, should such 
be made, that may cause or lead to a separation from our mo- 
ther country, or a change in this form of government." 

This decided stand against a declaration of independence, 
roused the fnends of that measure to the most active exertions, 
throughout the province. On the 15th of May, congress 
adopted a resolution, which was in spirit a declaration of in- 
dependence. This resolution was laid before a large meet- 
ing of the citizenv^ of Philadelphia, assembled five days after 
the passage of it, and in front of the very building in which 
congress was assembled, digesting plans of resistance. The 
resolution was received by this assembly of citizenS| who 
were decided whigs, with great enthusiasm, the instructions 
of the provincial assembly to the Pennsylvania delegation in 
congress was loudly and pointedly condemned, and a plan 
adopted to assemble a provincial conference to establish a 
new government in Pennsylvania. 

Accordingly, such a conference was aaaembkdf on Ibi 

25 • .*« 


18tb of June. Of lhi> confereDce, Hr. Smith wes ui kcUts 
and diatinguished member. The proceedinga of the confe- 
rence were entirely harmonious. Before it had ueembled, 
the provincial aisembly had reacinded their obnoxioiu in- 
■tractions to their delegate* in congress. Still, however, it 
was thought advisable for the conference to express in form 
theii sentiments on the subject of a declaration of indepen- 
dence.' The mOTer of a resolution to this effeet, wis Dr. 
Benjamin Rush, at that time a young man. Colonel Smith 
seconded the resolution, and these two gentlemen, with 
Thomas M'Kean, were appointed a committee to draft it. 
On the following morning, the resolution being reported, was 
tmauimously adopted, was signed by the members, and on 
the 2Sth of June, a few days only before the declaration of 
independeuce by congress, was presented to that body. 

This declaration, though prepared in great haate, contain- 
ed the substance of that declaration, which was adopted by 
GongreaB. It declared, that the king had paid no attention to 
the numerous petitions which bad been addressed to him, 
for the removal of the most grievous oppressions, but (to 
use the language of the preamble to the resolution) he 
" hath lately purchased foreign troops to assist in enslaTing 
us ; and hath excited the savages of this country to carry on 
a war against us, as also the negroes to imbrue their hands 
in the blood of their masters, in a manner unpractised by 
civilized nations ; and hath lately insulted our calamities, by 
declaring that he will show us no mercy, till he has reduced 
UB. And whereas the obligations of allegiance (beiog recip- 
rocal between a king and his subjects) are now dissolved, on 
the side of the colonists, by the despotism of the said king, 
insomuch that it now appears that loyalty to him is treason 
against the good people of this country ; and whereas not 
only the parliament, but there is reason to believe, too many 
of the people of Great Britain, have concurred in the arbi- 
traiy and unjust proceedings against us ; and whereas the 
public virtue of this colony (so essential to its liberty and 
happiness) most be endangered by a future political union 
with, 01 dependence on, a crown and nation, so lost to ju>- 

ttcCi ptttriotism, and ma^animity :" Therefoie, the reioli^ 
tioD proceeded to assert that " the deputies of PeniuylTaniK 
assembled in the coaferencei unanimously declare their wil- 
lingneu to concur in a vote of the congresB, declaring the 
united colosiea free and independent states : and that thejr 
call upon the nations of Europe, and appeal to the great 
Arbiter and Governor of the empires of the world, to niu 
Bess, that this declaration did not originate in ambition, or 
in an impatience of lawful authority ; but that they are dri- 
ven to it in obedience to the first principles of nature, by the 
oppresuons and cruelties of the aforesaid king and parlia- 
ment of Great Britain, as the only possible measure left to 
preserve and establish our iibeities, and to transmit them in 
rioiate to posterity." 

In the month of July, a conrention was assembled in Phi- 
ladelphia, for the purpose of forming a new constitution for 
Pennsylvania. Of this body. Colonel Smith was elected a 
member, and he appeared to take his seat on the 16th day of 
the month. On the 20lh he was elected by the convention a 
member of congress, in which body he took his seat, after 
the adjournment of the conTention. Colonel Smith contlnn 
ed a member of congress for several years, in which capacity 
he was active and efficient. He always entertained strong 
anticipalionB of success during the revolutionary struggle, 
and by his cheerfulness powerfully contributed to dispel the 
despondency wliich he often saw around faim. On with- 
drawing from congress, in November, 1776, he resumed his 
professional pursuits, which he continued until the year, 
1800, when he withdrew from the bar, having been in the 
practice of his profession for about sixty years. In the 
year 1606, he was removed to another world. He had 
three sons and two daughters, of whom only one of each 
survived him. 

In his disposition and habits, Colonel Smith was very pe- 
culiar. He was distinguished for his love of anecdote and 
conviviality. His memory was uncommonly retentive, and 
ranarkably stored with stories of a hnmouroiu and diverting 


character, which, on particular occasiona, he nJated wiin 
great effect. 

He was for many yearB a profeHor of reli^on, and rery 
ngular in his attendance on public worahip. Notwilhstand- 
log his fondness for jest, he was more than most men ready 
to frown upon every cxpreBsion which seemed to reflect on 
sacred subjects. It was a singular trait in the character of 
Hr> Smith, that he should so obstinately refuse to inform bi> 
frienda of hia age. The monument erected over hia gravs 
informs us, that hia death occurred in the ninety-third year 
of hia age. It is probable, however, that he was not to old 
by several years. 


Of the early life of Georob Tailor, although he acted a 
distinguished part in ihc political affairs of his time, few 
incidents are recorded, in any documents which we have 
seen, and few, it is said, ore remembered by the old men of 
the neighbourhood in which he lived. Mr. Taylor was bera 
ill the yenr 1716. , Ireland gave him birth. He was the 
aon of a respectable clergyman in that country, who having 
a more just eslimalion of the importance of a good educa- 
tion, gave to his son an opportunity to improve his mind, 
beyond most youth in ihe country about him. At a proper 
age he commenced the study of medicine ; but his geuiu* 
not being adapted to the profession, he relinquished his me- 
dical etudiea, and soon after set sail for America. 

On his arrival, he was entirely destitute of money, and 
was obliged to resort to manual labour to pay the ezpenaea 
of his voyage to America. The name of the gentleman 
who kindly employed him, and paid his passage, \na Savage. 
He waa the owner of extensive iron worka at Durham, a 


^mall Tillage, situated on the river Delaware, a few miles 
from Easton. 

In these works, young Taylor was for a time employed 
to throw coal into the furnace, when in blasL The business 
was, however, too severe for him, and at length Mr. Savage 
transferred him from this menial and arduous service, into 
his counting-room as a clerk. In this situation, he rendered 
himself very useful and acceptable, and, at length, upon the 
death of Mr. Savage, he became connected in marriage with 
his widow, and consequently the proprietor of the whole es- 
tablishment. In a few years the fortune of Mr. Taylor was 
considerably farther increased. He was now induced to pur- 
chase a considerable estate near the river Lehigh, in the 
county of Northampton, where he erected t^ spacious man- 
sion, and took up his permanent residence. 

A {ew years after, Mr. Taylor was summoned by his fel- 
low-citizens into public life. Of the provincial assembly, 
which met at Philadelphia, in October, 1764, he was for the 
first time a member, and immediately rendered himself con- 
spicuous, by the active part which he took in all the impor- 
tant questions which came before that body. 

From this period, until 1T70, Mr. Taylor continued to 
represent the county of Northampton in the provincial as- 
sembly. He was uniformly placed on several standing com- 
mittees, and was frequently entrusted, in connexion with 
other gentlemen, with the management of many important 
special concerns, as they continued to rise. At Northampton* 
Mr. Taylor entered into the business, which had so exten- 
sively occupied him, while at Durham. The business, how- 
ever, at the former place was by no means as profitable as 
it had been at the latter. Indeed it is said, that the fortune 
of Mr. Taylor suffered so considerably, that he was at length 
induced to return to Durham to repair iL 

In October, 1T75, he was again elected a delegate to the 
provincial assembly in Pennsylvania, and in the following 
month was appointed, in connexion with several other gen- 
tlemen, to report a set of instructions to the delegates, which 
the assembly had just appointed to the continental congress. 


The circumetancea of the colony of PennBylranim, were st 
Ibis time, in some respects, peculiar. She was far lesa op- 
pressed iLan the other colonies in America. On the contrary, 
she had been grently favoured by his British majesty. Her 
gOTernment, which tvas proprietary, was administered without 
the least political oppression, and her constitution was free 
and liberal. 

In consequence of these, and other circumstances, a atroii|i 
reluctance prevailed in Pennsylvania to sever the bonds of 
onion between herself and the mother country. Hence, the 
measures of her public bodies were characterized by a more 
obvioua respect for the British government than the measures 
of other colonies. This might be inferred from the iDStmc- 
tions reported at this time, by Mr. Taylor and his associates, 
and adopted by the assembly: 

" The trust reposed in you is of such a nature, and the 
modes of executing it may be so diversified, in the course of 
your deliberations, that it is scarcely possible to give you par- 
ticular instructions respecting it. We, therefore, in general, 
direct that you, or any four of you, meet in congress the dele- 
gates of the several colonies now assembled in this cit}', and 
any such delegates as may meet in congress next year; that yon 
consult together on the present critical and alarming state of 
public affairs ; that you esert your utmost endeavours to 
agree upon, and recommend such measures as you shall judge 
to aflurd the best prospect of obtaining redress of American 
grievances, and restoring that union and harmony between 
Great Britain and the colonies, so eseen^al to the welfare and 
happiness of both countries." 

"Though the oppressivo measures of the British parliv 
ment and administration have compelled us to resist their 
violence by force of arms, yet we strictly enjoin you, that you, 
in behalf of this colony dissent from, and utterly reject any 
propositions, should such be made, that may cause or lead to 
a separation from our mother country, or a chance of the 
form of this government." 

During the winter and spring of 1776, a great change was 
effected in public sentiment in the province of Pennaylnnia, 


on the subject of the contest between the mother connlry and 
the colonies. Hence the prormcia) asseroblr rescinded their 
fonoer instracdonB to their dele^tea in eoDgress, and while 
they eipressed an ardent desire for the termination of the 
unhappy contrarersy, they were unwilling to purchase peace 
by a dishonouTable submiasiDD to arbitrary power. " We, 
therefore," said the assembly, in their instmetious to their 
delegates in congress, "authorize you to concur with the other 
delegates in congress, in forming such further compacts be- 
tween the united colonies, concluding such treaties with foreign 
kingdoms and elates, and in adopting such other measures as, 
upon a view of all circumstances, shall be judged necessary 
for promoting the liberty, safety, and interests of America ; 
reserving to the people of this colony the sole and exclusive 
right of regulating the internal government and police of the 

" The happiness of these colonies has, during the whole 
course of this fatal controversy, been our first wish. Their 
rcconeiliation with Great Britain our next. Ardently have 
we prayed for the accomplishment of both. But if we must 
renounce the one or the other, we humbly trust in the mer- 
ciet of the Supreme Governor of the universe, that we shall 
not stand condemned before his throne, if our choice is de> 
termined by that overruling law of self-preservation, which 
His divine wisdom has thought fit lo implant in the hearts of 

Fortunately for the cause of American liberty, the change in 
public sentiment above alluded to, continued to spread, and 
on taking the great question of a declaration of independence, 
an approving vole by all the colonies was secured in its favour 
The approbation of Pennsylvania, however, was only obl4in- 
ed by the casting vote of Mr. Morton, as has already been 
mentioned in our biographical notice of that gentleman. On 
the 20th of July, the Pennsylvania convention proceeded to a 
new choice of Representatives. Mr. Morton, Dr. Franklin, 
Mr. Morris, and Mr. Wilson, who had voted in favour of the 
declaration of independence, were re-elected. Those who 
iMd opposed it were at this time dropped, and the Ibllowing 


gentlemen were appointed in ibeir place, m. : Mr. Taylor, 
Ttr. Horn, Mr. Clymer, Dr. Rush, and Mr. Smith. These latter 
gentlemen were conseqaently not preient on the fourth of 
Jnly, when the declaration wae paued and proclaimed, hot 
they had the honour of affixing their signatures to the en- 
groBBed copy, on the second of Angnst following, at whid 
time the members generally signed it. 

Mr. Taylor retired from congresa in 1777, from which time 
we know little of his history. He settled at Easton, where b« 
continued to manage his affairfl with mnch saccesa, and to r«- 
pair his fortune, which had greatly suffered during bii len- 
dence on the banks of the Lehigh. Mr. Taylor died on the 
S3d of February, 17S1, in the sixty-sixth year of hia age. He 
had two children by his wife, a son, who became an attoney, 
but died before his father, and a daughter who was never 


Janeh Wilsom was a native of Scotland, where he was 
born about the year 1749. His father waa a respectable &r- 
mer, who resided in the vicinity of St AndrewB, well known 
for its university. Though not wealthy, he enjoyed a eom* 
peteacy, until at length, a passion for apecnlation nearly 
nnned him. 

James Wilson received an excellent education. He 
studied successively at Glasgow, St Andrews, and Edinburgh. 
He had the good fortune to enjoy the instruction of the dis- 
tinguished Dr. Blair, and the not less celebrated Dr. Watta. 
By the former he waa taught rhetoric ; by the latter, both 
rhetoric and logic. Under these eminent men, Mr. WUaon laid 
the foundation of an impressive eloquence, and a soperiT- 
and almost irregistiblc mode of reasoning. 

After completing his studies under the superior adTuit^M 


winadf named, he resolved to seek in America that indepen" 
deuce which he could scarcely hope for la his native country 
Iccordingly, he left Scotland, and reached Philadelphia early 
in the year 1766. He was highly recommended to several 
gentlemen of that city, by one or more of whom he was in- 
troduced as a tutor to the Philadelphia college and academy. 
During the period that he served in this capacity, he enjoyed 
a reputation of heing the best classical scholar whd had offi- 
ciated as tutor in the Latin department of the college. 

He continued, however, only a few months to fill the above 
office, having received an offer, through the assistance of 
Bishop White and Judge Peters, of entering the law office of 
Mr. John Dickinson. In this office he continued for the 
space of two years, applying himself with great ardour to the 
study of the profession of law. At the czpiralion of tbla 
time, he entered upon the practice, first at Reading, but soon 
after removed to Carlisle, at which latter place he acquired the 
reputation of being an eminent counsellor previoua>to the re- 
volution. From Carlisle, Mr. Wilson removed to Annapolis, 
in Maryland, whence, in 1778, he came to Philadelphia, where 
he continued to reside for the remainder of his life. 

At an early day, Mr. Wilson entered with patriotic zeal in- 
to the cause of American liberty. He was an American is 
principle from the lime (hat he landed on the American shore ; 
and at no period in tlie revolutionary struggle, did he for e 
■ingle hour swerve from his attachment to the principlei 
which he had adopted. 

Mr. Wilson, who was a member of the provincial conven- 
tion of Pennsylvania, was proposed as a delegate to the con- 
gress of 1774, in conjunction with his former instructor, Mr. 
Dickinson. Neither, however, was elected, through the in- 
fluence of the speaker, Mr, Galloway, of whom we have 
spoken in our introduction, and who afterwards united him- 
self to the British on their taking possession of Philadelphia. 
In the following year, however, Mr. Wilson was unanimously 
elected a member of congress, and in that body took bit. 
seat on the lOlh of May, 1775. In this distinguiriMd ai 
he continued nnti] 1777. when, throofh llw ii ~ 

tot rBimSTLTAaiA dbuoatioh. 

Useling, ha tm iuperseded, and anollier appointed in bis 

In ITSZi however, he was again elected to congress, and 
took hii leat in that body, on the second of January, 1783L 
A few months previously to his re-election, he waa appoint- 
ed by the president and supreme executitre council, a coun- 
ioUor and agent for Pennsylvania, in the great controversy 
between that state and die state of Connecticut, relating to 
certain lands within the charter boundary of Pennsylvania. 
These lands the state of Connecticut claimed as belonging to 
her, being included within her charter. On the thirtieth of 
December, 17S2, this great question was determined at Trcti- 
ton, New-Jersey, by a court of commissioners appointed for 
that purpose, who unanimously decided it in favour of Penn- 
sylvania. To the determinatjou of the question in this man- 
ner, Mr. Wilson, it is said, greatly contributed, by a lumi- 
nous and impressive argument, which he delivered before the 
court, and which occupied several days. 

The high estimation in which Mr. Wilson was held, about 
this time, may be learned from his receiving the appointment 
of advocate general for the French government, in the Uni- 
ted States. His commission bore date the liflh of June, 
1779; and at a subsequent date was confirmed, by letters pa- 
lent from the king of France. The duties of this office were 
both arduous and delicate. Few men, however, were belter 
qualilicd for such an olGcc than Mr. Wilson. In 1781, diffi- 
culties having arisen as to the manner in which he should be 
paid for his services, he resigned his commission. He con- 
tinued, however, to give advice in such cases os were laid 
before him, by the ministers and consuls of France, until 
1783. At which time, the king of France handsomely re- 
warded him by a gift of ten thousand livrcs. 

The standing of Mr. Wilson, during the whole course of 
his attendance in congress, was deservedly high. As a man 
of businoBs, Pennsylvania had, probably, at no time, any one 
Among her delegation who excelled him. He was placed on 
numerous committees, and in every duty assigned him ex- 
hibited great fidelity, industry, and perseverance. 

1AMX8 WILSOir. 808 

Notwithstanding this high and honourable conduct of Mr 
Wilson, and the active exertions which he made in favour of 
his adopted country, he had enemies, whose slanders he did 
not escape. It was especially charged against him, that he 
was opposed to the declaration of independence. This, bow- 
ever, has been amply refuted by gentlemen of the highest 
standing in the country, who were intimately acquainted with 
his views and feelings on that important subject. Many who 
voted for the measure, and who sincerely believed in the ulti- 
mate expediency of it, were of the opinion, that it was brought 
forward prematurely. But when, at length, they found the 
voice of the nation loudly demanding such a measure, and 
saw a spirit abroad among the people determined to sustain 
it, they no longer hesitated to vote in its favour. Mr. Wil- 
son, probably, belonged to this class. Though at first doubt- 
ful whether the state of the country would justify such a mea- 
sure, he at length became satisfied that existing circumstances 
rendered it necessary ; and accordingly it received his vote. 

Notwithstanding that a declaration of independence had 
been spoken of for some time previously to the fourth of 
July, 1776, no motion was brought forward in congress re- 
specting it, until the 7th of June. This motion was referred 
the following day to a committee of the whole, but it was 
postponed until the tenth of June. On the arrival of the 
tenth of that month, the following resolution was offered : 
** That these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, 
free and independent states ; that they are absolved from all 
allegiance to the British crown ; and that all political con- 
nexion between them and the state of Great Britain is, and 
ought to be, totally dissolved.** The consideration of thb 
resolution was postponed to the first of July, on which day 
it was expected that the committee which was appointed to 
draft a declaration, and which consisted of Mr. Jefferson, J. 
Adams, Dr. Franklin, and R. R. Livingston, would report 

At length, the first of July arrived, when the motion was 
further discussed, and the question taken in committee of the 
whole. The declaration received the votes of all the states 
excepting Pennsylvania and Delaware. The delegates of the 


fomier state were four to tliree in the opposidon; (he delo* 
gmtea of the latter, Thomas H'Kean and George Resd, were 
divided, the one in favour of the measure, the other opposed 
to iu The final question was postponed from day to day, 
untU the fourth of July, when it was taken, and an unanimous 
TOte of all the stales was obtained. Tho day was rainy. Of 
the Pennsylrania delegation, Messrs. Morris and Dickinaoa 
were absent, and consequently the vote of Pennsylvania wu 
now in favour of the measure, Messrs. Wilson, FraokliOi and 
Morton, being in favour of it, and Messrs. Homphrejrs and 
Willing being opposed to it. Fortunately, at this juncture, 
Cesar Rodney, a delegate from Delaware, arrived. He bad 
been sent for by an express from Mr. M'Kean, and arrived in 
time to vote with that gentleman, in opposition to ihdr col- 
league, George Read. 

Thus, an unanimous vote of the thirteen colonies was se- 
enred. Thus, a question was decided which deeply agitated 
the whole American community, and tlie decision of wliicli 
wssfraught with blessings to tlie country, which will go down, 
we trust, to the end of time. 

In a preceding paragraph we have intimated that a charge 
was brought against Mr. Wilson of being opposed to the de- 
claration of independence. Had such been his sentiments, 
who could have charged him with a want of patriotism t The 
truth is, there were hundreds, and even thousands, at that 
day, in America, as strongly allacheil lo her cause, as friend- 
ly to her liberties, and as firmly resolved never to surrender 
the rights which the God of nature had given them, as were 
those who voted in favour of a declaration of independence, 
but who yet thought the time had not arrived when the wisest 
policy dictated such n measure. Mr. Wilson was, indeed, 
not altogether of this class. He would perhaps not have 
brought forward the subject at so early a day; but when it 
was brought forward, he voted in favour of it, on the first of 
July, even in opposition lo the majority of his colleagues ; 
and on the fourth, as it happened, fortunately for the cause of 
liis country, in a majority. 

Another charge has also been brought against Mr. Wilaoi^' 


(viz.) a participation in the combination which was formed 
against General Washington, towards the close of the year 
1777. This conspiracy, if it may be so called, originated in 
the discontent of many who felt envious at the exalted station 
which Washington occupied ; and was founded, at this time, 
upon the high military reputation which General Gates had 
acquired by the capitulation of Saratoga, and the gloomy as- 
pect of affairs in the region where Washington was in parti- 
cular command. In this combination, it was supposed seve- 
ral members of congress, and a very few officers of the army, 
were concerned. Among these officers, it is believed. Gene 
ral Gates himself may be included. ** He had not only omit 
ted," says Marshall, in his life of Washington, ** to communi- 
cate to that general the successes of his army, after the vic- 
tory of the seventh of October had opened to him the pros- 
pect of finally destroying the enemy opposed to him ; but he 
carried on a correspondence with General Cpnway, in which 
that officer had expressed himself with great contempt of 
the commander in chief, and on the disclosure of this circum- 
stance, General Gates had demanded the name of the in- 
former, in a letter expressed in terms by no means concilia- 
tory, and which was accompanied by the very extraordinary 
circumstance of being passed through congress. 

** The state of Pennsylvania, too, chagrined at losing its 
capital, and forgetful of its own backwardness in strengthen- 
ing the army, which had twice fought superior numbers in 
its defence, furnished many discontented individuals, who 
supposed it to be the fault of General Washington that he 
had not, with an army inferior to that of the enemy in num- 
bers, and in every equipment, effected the same result, which 
had been produced in the north, by a continental army, in 
itself miich stronger than its adversary, and so re-inforced by 
militia as to amount to three times the number opposed to 
them. The legislature of that state, on the report that Gene- 
ral Washington was moving into winter quarters, addressed 
a remonstrance to congress on the subject, which manifested, 
in very intelligible terms, their dissatisfaction with the com- 
mander in chief. About the same time, a new board of war 
2R »• 


was created, or which General Gates wb> appointed the pre 
aident; and General Mifflin, who was supposed to be ftlso of 
the party unfriendly to Washington, was one of its number. 
General Conway, who was, perhaps, the only brigadier in 
the army that had joined this faction, was appointed inspector 
general, and was elevated above brigadiers older than himsell^ 
to the rank of major general. There were other evidences 
that, if the hold which the commander in chief had taken of 
the aflections and confidence of the army, and of the nation, 
could be shaken, the parly in congress which was disposed 
to change their general, was for from being contemptible in 
point of numbers." 

Fortunately for America, it was impossible to loosen this 
hold. Even the northern army clung to Washington as the 
aariour of their country. The only cfiect of this combini' 
tion was, to excite a considerable degree of resentment, which 
was directed eqtirely against those who were believed to be 
engaged in it General Gales himself, in consequence of 
this, and of the disastrous battle of Camden, fell into obscu- 
rity ; and General Conway, the great calumniator of General 
Washington, scorned by honourable men, on account of his 
cowardice at the battle of Germantown, and other equally 
unworthy conduct, resigned his commission on the 28th of 
April, 1778. 

The charge brought against Mr. Wilson, of having been 
hostile to General Washington, and of having pardcipated in 
the combination formed against him, was wholly unfounded. 
The evidence on this point is complete. 

Of the celebrated convention of 1787, which was aseembled 
in Philadelphia, for the purpose of forming the constitution 
of the United Stales, Mr. Wilson n'as a member. During 
the long deliberations of the convention on that instrumenl. 
he rendered the most important services. He possessed 
great political sagacity and foresight, and being a fluent 
■peaker, he did much to settle upon just principles the great 
and important points which naturally arose in the formation 
of a new government. On the twenly-third of July, the con- 
Tentioa resolved, " That the proceedings of the convention 

I&MU WIUON. 307 

for the eilttblishment of a national government, except what 
reapects the supreme executive, be referred to a committee 
for the purpose of reporting a Gonaiiiutton, confoi;mBbly to 
the proceedings aforesaid." In pursuance of this resolution, 
ft committee was appointed on the following doy, conaisting 
of Messrs. Wilson, Rutlcdge, Randolph, Gorham, and ElU- 
worth, who accordingly, on the sixth of August, reported the 
draught of a constitution. 

When the state convention of Pennsylvania assembled to 
ratify the federal constitution, Mr. Wilson was returned a 
member of that body, and as he WBi the only one who had 
asBisted in forming that instrument, it devolved upon him to 
explain to the convention the principles upon which it was 
founded, and the great objects which it had in view. Thus he 
powerfully contributed to the ratification of the constitution 
in that stale. The following language, which he used in 
conclusion of his speech, in favour of this ratification, do- 
serves a place here : " It is neither extraordinary nor unex- 
pected, that the constitution offered to your consideration, 
should meet with opposition. It is the nature of man to 
pursue his own interest, in preference to the public good ; 
and I do not mean to make any personal reflection when I 
add, that it is the interest of a very numerous, powerful, and 
respectable body, to counteract and destroy the excellent 
work produced by the late convention. All the officers of 
government, and all ihe appointments for the administration 
of justice, and the collection of the public revenue, which are 
transferred from the individual to the aggregate sovereignty 
of the states, will necessarily turn the stream of influence and 
emolument into a new channel. Every person, therefore, 
who enjoys, or expects to enjoy, a place of profit under the 
present establishment, will object to the proposed innova- 
tion; not, in truth, because it is injurious to the liberties of 
bis country, but because it affects his schemes of wealth ond 
consequence. I will confess, indeed, that I am not a blind 
admirer of this plan of government, and that there are some 
parts of it which, if my wish had prevailed, would certainly 
have been altered. But. when I reflect how widely men dif- 


fer in their opinioDBt and that every man, (and the observa- 
tion applies likewise to every state,) has an equal pretension 
to assert his own, I am Balisfied that any thing nearer to per- 
fection could not have been accamplithed. If there are er- 
rors, it should be remembered, that the seeds of reformation 
are sown in the work itself, and a concurrence of two thirds 
of the congress may, at any time, introduce alterations ano 
amendments. Regarding it, then, in every point of view, 
with a candid and disinle rented mind, I am bold In assert, that 
it is the best form of government which has ever been offered 
lo the world." 

After the ratification of the federal constitution in Penn- 
sylvania, a convention was culled to alter the constitution of 
that state, to render it conformable (o that of the United 
States. Mr. Wilson was one of the committee appointed to 
prepare the form of a conslitution, and upon him iJcvolvcd 
the task of making the draught. 

In the year 1789, General Washington appointed Mr. Wil- 
son a judge of the supreme court of the United Stales, under 
the federal conslilulion. In this exalted slalion he was asso- 
ciated with John Jay, who was placed al ihc head of ihe de- 
partment, and Judge Rultedgc, of Souih Carolina, William 
Gushing, of Massachusetts, Robert Harrison, of Maryland, 
and John DIair, of Virginia, In this office he continued until 
his death, which occurred on the twenty-eighth of August, 
1798, at Edenton, in North Carolina, while on a circuit attend- 
ing to his duties as a judge. He is supposed to have been 
about fifty-six years of age. 

In stature. Judge Wilson was about six feet. Hta appear 
ance was dignified and respectable, and in his manners he 
was not ungraceful. As a lawyer, he stood at the head ol 
his profession, while he practised at the Philadelphia bar 
He was not less emincnl as o judge on the bench. He enter- 
ed with great readiness into the causes which came before 
him, and seldom did he fail to ihruw light on points of law of 
the most difficult and perplexing character. 

In his domestic relalions, such was his happy and consist- 
ent coone, as to aeciure the respect and affection of bis family 

SKOROK Rosa. 300 

and friends. Towarda all wilh whom he had intercourse 
from abroad, ke whs friendly and hospitable, and within his 
family he was affectionate and indulgent He was distin- 
guishei] for great integrity of character, and for an inriolate 
regard for truth. Mr. Wilson was twice married, the first 
time to a daughter of William Bird, of Berks county, and the 
second time to a daughter of Mr. Ellis Gray, of Boston. By 
(he former wife, he had six children ; and by the tatter one. 
Two only of these children are now living, the one at Phila- 
delphia, the other in the state of New-York. After the death 
of Mr. Wilson, his wife became connected in marriage with 
Dr. Thomas Bartlett. of Boston, whom she accompanied to 
England, where she died in 1807. 

The last gcnllemsn who belonged to the FennsylTania de- 
legation, at the time the members of the revoliitionary con- 
gress affixed their signatures to the declaration of indepen- 
dence, was Georoe Ross. He was the son of a clergyman 
by the same name, who presided over the episcopal church 
at New Castle, in the state of Delaware, in which town he was 
bom in the year 1730. 

At an early age, he gave indications of possessing talenta 
of a superior order. These indications induced his father to 
give him the advantages of a good education. At the age of 
eighteen he entered upon the study of law, under the super- 
intendence of an elder brother, who was at that time in the 
practice of tlie profession, in the city of Philadelphia. 

Soon after being admitted to the bar, he estabhshed himself 
at Lancaster, at that lime near the western limits of civiliza- 
tioa. He soon became connected in marriage with a lady of 
a respectable family. For several years he continued lo de- 
Tote himself, with great zeal, to tlie duties of his professioB, 


in iriiich, at length, he attained a high reputation, both Sft i 
counsellor and an adrocate. 

Mr. Ross commenced bia political career in 1768, in which 
year he was first returned as a representa^ve to the assembly 
of Pennsylvania. Of this body he continued to be re-elected a 
tnember, until the year 1774, when' he was chosen inconnec* 
tion with several other gentlemen, a delegate to the celebra- 
ted congress which met at Philadelphia. At the time he was 
appointed to a seat in this congress, he was also appointed to 
report to the assembly of the prorince, a set of instructions^ 
by which the conduct of himself and colleagues were to be 
directed. The instructions thus drafted and reported, wera 
accepted by the assembly. In concluding these instmclions, 
the assembly observed : " ihat the trust reposed in you is of 
Buch a nature, and the moden of executing it may be so di- 
versified in the course of your deliberations, that il is scarcely 
possible to give you particular instructions rcspectingiL We 
shall, therefore, only in general direct, that you are to meet in 
congress the committees of the several Britiah colonies, at such 
time and place as shall be generally agreed on, to consult toge- 
ther on the present critical and alarming situation and state of 
tiie colonies, and that you, with them, exert your utmost en- 
deavours to form and adopt a plan, which shall afford the best 
prospect of obtaining a redress of American grievances, as- 
certaining American rights, and cstablislitng that union and 
harmony, which is most essential to the welfare and happi- 
ness of both countries. And in doing this, you are strictly 
charged to avoid every thing indecent or disrespectful to \ht 
mother state," 

Mr. Ross continued to represent the state of Fennsylrania 
in the national legislature, until January, 1777, when, on ac- 
count of indispoaiiion, he was obliged to retire. During his 
congressional career, his conduct met the warmest approba* 
lion of his constituents. He was a statesman of enlarged 
views, and under the influence of a general patriotism, he 
cheerfully sacrificeil his private interests for the public good. 
The high sense entertained by the inhabitants of the county of 
Lancaster, of his zeal for the good of his country, and of hia 

B. 311 

cotutitnents in particular, was eipreased in the following re- 
■otntion : "Resolred, that the sum of one hundred and liftf 
pounds, out of the county stock, be forthwith transmitted to 
George Ross, one of the members of assembly for this county, 
and one of the delegates for this colony in the continental 
congress ; and that he be requested to accept the same, as a 
testimony from this county, of their sense of his attendance on 
the public business, to his great private lass, and oflheir appro- 
bation of bis conduct. Resolved, that if it be more agreeable, 
Mr. Robs purchase with part of the said money,a genteel piece 
of plate, ornamented as be thinks proper, to remain with him, 
ts a testimony of the esteem this county has for him, by reason 
of his patnotic conduct, in the great struggle of American li- 
berty." Such a testimony of respect and sfiection, on the 
part of his constituents, must have been not a little gratifjring 
to the feelings of Mr. Robs. He felt it his duty, however, to 
decline accepting the prcBent, offering as an apology for so do- 
ing, that he conaidered it as the duty of every man, and espe- 
cially of every representative of the people, to contribute, by 
every means within his power, to the welfare of his country, 
without expecting pecuniary rewards, 

The attendance of Mr. Ross in congress, did not prevent 
htm from meeting with the provincial legislature. Of this 
latter body, he was an active, energetic, and influential mem- 
ber. In the summer of 1775, it was found by the general as- 
sembly, that the circumstances of the slate required the adop- 
tion of some decisive measures, especially in respect to put- 
ting the city of Philadelphia, and the province, in a slate of 
defence. A committee was accordingly appointed, of whicK 
Hr. RosB was one, to report what measures were expedient. 
In a few days that committee did report, recommending tu 
the people to associate for the protection of their lives, and 
liberty, and property, and urging upon the several counties o 
the province the importance of collecting stores of ammuni- 
tion and arms. A resolution was also offered, providing for 
the payment of all such aBBociations as should be called out to 
repel any attacks made by the British troops. To carry 
these plans into effect, a general committee of public aafety 


appointed, and clothed with the necesaarj anthoritj. To 
this committee Mr. Ross was attached, and was one of its most 
active and efficient members. He also belonged to another 
important committee, viz. that of grievunces. 

On the dissolution of the proprietary government in Penn- 
sylvania, a general convention was assembled, in which Mr. 
Ross represented the county of Lancaster. Here, again, he 
was called to the discharge of most important duties, being 
appointed to assist in preparing a declaration of rights on be- 
half of the state, for forming rules of order for the convention, 
and for defining and settling what should be considered high 
treason and misprision of treason against the state, and the 
punishment which should be inflicted for those oflfences. 

In the year 1779, Mr. Ross was appointed a judge of the 
court of admiralty for the state of Pennsylvania. This was 
on the 14th of April. He was permitted to enjoy, however, 
the honourable station which he now filled but a short time. 
In the month of July following, he was suddenly and violently 
attacked by the gout, which terminated his useful life, in the 
fiftieth year of his age. 

In respect to the character of Judge Ross, we have little to 
add to the preceding account. As a lawyer, even before the 
revolution, he was among the first of his profession, a rank 
which he continued to hold, while he practised at the bar. 
As a politician, he was zealous, patriotic, and consistent As 
a judge, he was learned and upright, and uncommonly skilful 
in the despatch of business. He comprehended with ease 
causes of the greatest intricacy, and formed his decisions, 
which often displayed much legal knowledge, with great 
promptness. It is to be added to his honour, that while he 
was thus distinguifhed abroad, he was characterized in the 
fulfilment of his domestic duties, by an uncommonly kind and 
aflfectionate disposition. 





George Read, 
Thomas M'Kean. 


CjESAR Rodney, the first of the delegation from Dela- 
ware, was a native of that state, and was born about the 
year 1730. His birth-place was Dover. The family, from 
which he was descended, was of ancient date, and is honour 
bly spoken of in the history of early times. We read of 
Sir Walter De Rodeney, of Sir George De Rodeney, and 
Sir Henry De Rodeney, with several others of the same 
lime, even earlier than the year 1234. Sir Richard De Ro- 
deney accompanied the gallant Richard C<£ur de Lion in his 
crusade to the Holy Land, where he fell, while fighting at 
ihe seige of Acre. 

In subsequent years, the wealth and power of the family 
.'Continued 10 be great. Intermarriages took place between 
some of the members of it, and several illustrious and noble 
families of England. During the civil wars, about the time 
of the commonwealth, the family became considerably re 
duced, and its members were obliged to seek their fortunes 
m new employments, and in distant countries. Soon after 
the settlement of Pennsylvania by William Penn, William 
Rodney, one of the descendants of thb illustrious family 
28 27 



removed (o that province and after a short rcBidence tn Phi- 
ladelphia, aellled in Kent, a connty upon the Delaware. 
This gentleman died in the year 1706, leaving a considerable 
fortune, and eight children, die eldest of whom is the sobject 
of the following sketch. Mr. Rodney inherited from his 
father a large landed estate, which waa entailed upon him, 
according to the usages of distinguished families at that dey. 
At the early age of tvrcnty-eight years, such was his popu- 
larity, he was appointed high sheriff in the county in which 
he resided, and on the espiration of his term of service, fat 
was created a justice of the peace, and a judge of the lowei 
courts. In 1762, and perhaps at a still earlier date, he repre- 
seDted the county of Kent in the provincial legislature. 
In this station he entered with great zeal and activity into 
the prominent measures of the day. In the year 1765, th' 
first general congress was assembled, as is well known, « 
New- York, to consult upon the measures which were neces 
sary to be adopted in consequence of the stamp act, and 
other oppressive acts of the British government. To this 
congress, Mr. Rodney, Mr. M'Kean, and Mr. KoIIock, were 
unanimously appointed by the provincial assembly of Dela- 
ware to represent that province. On their return from New- 
York, they reported to the assembly their proceedings, 
under the insiruciiona which they had received. For the 
failliful and judicious discharge of the trust reposed tn them, 
llie assembly unanimously tendered ihcra their thanks, and 
voted ihcm a liberal compensation. 

The tumults caused in America by the stamp act, we have 
had frequent occasion to nolicc, as well as the joy consequent 
upon the repeal of that odious measure. In this universal 
joy, the inhabitants of Delaware largely participated. On 
the meeting of their legislature, Mr. Rodney, Mr. M'Kean, 
and Mr. Read, were appointed to express their thanks to the 
king, for his kindness in relieving them, in common with 
their country, from a burden which they had considered 
as exceedingly oppressive. In the address which was report- 
ed by the above committee, and forwarded, by direction 
of the uaembly, to England, we find the following language' 


** We cannot help glorying in being the subjects of a king, 
tliat has made the preservation of the civil and religious 
rights of his people, and the established constitution, the 
foundation and constant rule of his government, and the 
safety, ease, and prosperity of his people, his chiefest care ; 
of a king, whose mild and equal administration is sensibly 
felt and enjoyed in the remotest parts of his dominion. 
The clouds which lately hung over America are dissipated. 
Our complaints have been heard, and our grievances re- 
iresscd; trade and commerce again flourish. Our hearts 
ire animated with the warmest wishes for the prosperity of 
the mother country, for which our affection is unbound- 
ed, and your faithful subjects here are transported with joy 
and gratitude. Such are the blessings we may justly expect 
will ever attend the measures of your majesty, pursuing 
steadily the united and true interests of all your people, 
throughoutyour wide extended empire, assisted with the advice 
and support of a British parliament, and a virtuous and wise 
ministry. We most humbly beseech your majesty, graciously 
lo accept the strongest assurances, that having thejustest 
sense of the many favours we have received from your royal 
benevolence, during the course of your majesty's reign, and 
now much our present happiness is owing to your paternal 
love and care for your people; we will at all times most 
cheerfully contribute to your majesty's service, to the utmost 
of our abilities, when your royal requisitions, as heretofore, 
shall be made known ; that your majesty will always find 
such returns of duty and gratitude from us, as the best of 
kings may expect from the most loyal subjects, and that you 
will demonstrate to all the world, that the support of your 
majesty's government, and the honour and interests of the 
British nation, are our chief care and concern, desiring no- 
thing more than the continuance of our wise and excellent 
constitution, in the same happy, firm, and envied situation, 
in which it was delivered down to us from our ancestors, and 
your majesty's predecessors." 

This address, according to the agent who presented it, was 


kindly received by his majesty, who expressed hU ploarare 
,by reading it over twice. 

Unfortunately for the British goTemmeDt, but perhaps 
fortunately in the issue for the America colonics, the repral 
of the stamp act was followed by other oppressive measures, 
which caused a renewal of the former excitement in the 
American coloDies, and led tu that revolution, which deprived 
Great Britain of one of her fairest possessians. The inha- 
iHtanls of Delaware were for a long time anxious for a re- 
conciliation between the mother country and the American 
colonies ; still they understood too well their unalienable 
rights, and had too high a regard for them, tamely to reliiv- 
quish them. In a subsequent address, prepared by the same 
gentlemen who had drafted the former, they renewed tfaeir 
protestations of loyally ; but at the same time took the 
liberty of remonstrating against the proceedings of the Bri' 
tish paHiament : 

" If our fellow-subjectH of Great Britain, who derive no 
authority from us, who cannot in our humble opinion repre- 
sent us, and to whom wc will not yield in loyalty and affec- 
tion to your majesty, can at their will and pleasure, of right, 
give and gmnt away our property ; if tlicy enforce aa impli- 
cit obedience to every order or act of theirs for that purpose, 
and deprive all, or any of the assemblie? on this continent, 
of the power of legislation, for differing with them in opinion 
in matters which intimately affect (heir rights and interests, 
and every thing that is drar and valuable to Englishmen, we 
cannot imagine a case more miserable ; we cannot think that 
we Bhall have even the shadow of liberty lel\. We conceive 
it to be an inherent right in your majesty's subjects, derived 
to them from God and nature, handed down from their ances- 
tors, and confirmed by your royal predecessors and the con- 
stitution, in person, or by their representatives, to give and 
grant to their sovereigns those things which their own la- 
bours and their own cares have acquired and saved, and in 
such proportions and at such times, as the national honour 
and interest may require. Your majesty's faithful subjects 
of this government have enjoyed this inestimable privilege 


uninterrupted from its first existence, till of late. They 
have at all times cheerfully contributed to the utmost of their 
abilities for your majesty's service, as often as your royal 
requisitions were made known ; and they cannot now, but 
with the greatest uneasiness and distress of mind, part with 
the power of demonstrating their loyalty and affection to 
their beloved king." 

About this time, Mr. Rodney, in consequence of ill health, 
was obliged to relinquish his public duties, and seek medical 
advice in the city of Philadelphia. A cancerous affection had 
some time previously made its appearance on his nose, and 
was fast spreading itself over one side of his face. Fortunate- 
ly, the skill of the physicians of Philadelphia afforded him 
considerable relief, and deterred him from making a voyage 
to England to seek professional advice in that country. In 
1769, Mr. Rodney was elected speaker of the house of repre- 
sentatives, an oiHce which he continued to fill for several 
years. About the same time he was appointed chairman of 
the committee of correspondence with the other colonies. la 
the discharge of the duties of this latter office, he communi- 
cated with gentlemen of great influence in all parts of the 
country, and by the intelligence which he received fVom them, 
and which he communicated to his constituents, contributed 
to that union of sentiment which, at length, enabled the colo- 
nics to achieve their independence. 

Among the persons which composed the well known con- 
gress of 1774, Mr. Rodney was one, having for his colleagues 
the gentlemen already named, viz. Thomas M^Kcan and 
George Read. The instructions given to this delegation re- 
quired them to consult and determine upon such measures as 
might appear most wise for the colonies to adopt, in order to 
obtain relief frorm the sufferings they were experiencing. On 
the meeting of this congress, on the fifth of September, in 
the year already named, Mr. Rodney appeared and took his 
seat. He was soon after appointed on several important 
committees, in the discharge of which he exhibited great 
fidelity, and as a reward for his services he received the 

thanks of the provincial assembly, together with a re-appomt* * 



ment to the same high station in the following year. Ho 
was also appointed to the office of brigadier general in the 

At' the time that the important question of independence 
came before congress, Mr. Rodney was absent on a tour into 
the southern part of Delaware, having for his object to quiet 
the discontent which prevailed in that section of the country* 
and to prepare the minds of the people to a change of their 
government. On the question of independence, his col* 
leagues, Mr. M^Kean and Mr. Read, who were at this time 
in attendance upon congress, in Philadelphia, were divided. 
Aware of the importance of an unanimous vote of the states 
in favour of a declaration of independence, and acquainted 
with the views of Mr. Rodney, Mr. M'Kean dispatched a 
special messenger to summon him to be present in his scat 
on the occurrence of the trying question. With great effort, 
Mr. Rodney reached Philadelphia just in time to give his 
votp, and thus to secure an entire unanimity in that aqt of 
treason. In the autumn of 1776, a convention was called in 
Delaware, for the purpose of framing a new constitution, and 
of appointing delegates to the succeeding congress. In this 
convention there was a majority opposed to Mr. Rodney, 
who was removed from congress, and another appointed in 
his stead. Such ingratitude on the part of a people was not 
common during the revolutionary struggle. In the present 
instance, the removal of this gentleman was principally at- 
tributable to the friends of the royal government, who were 
quite numerous, especially in the lower counties, and who 
contrived to enlist the prejudices of some true republicans in 
accomplishing their object. 

Although thus removed from congress, Mr. Rodney still 
continued a member of the council of safety, and of the com- 
mittee of inspection, in both of which offices he employed 
himself with great diligence, especially in collecting supplies 
for the troops of the state, which were at that time with 
Washington, in the state of New- Jersey. In 1777, he re- 
paired in person to the camp near Princeton, where he re^ 


mained for nearly two months, in the most active and labori- 
ous services. 

In the autumn of this year, Mr. Rodney was again appoint- 
ed as a delegate from Delaware to congress, but before taking 
his seat lie was elected president of the state. This was an 
office of great responsibility, demanding energy and prompt- 
ness, especially as the legislature of the state was tardy in 
its movements, and the loyalists were not unfrequently ex- 
citing troublesome insurrections. Mr. Rodney continued 
in the office of president of the state for about four years. 
During this period, he had frequent communications from 
"Washington, in relation to the distressed condition of the 
army. In every emergency, he was ready to assist to the 
extent of his power ; and by the influence which he exerted, 
and by the energy which he manifested, he succeeded in af- 
fording the most prompt and efficient aid. The honourable 
course which he pursued, his firm and yet liberal conduct, in 
circumstances the most difficult and trying, greatly endeared 
him to the people of Delaware, who universally expressed 
their regret when, in the year 1782, he felt himself obligedyi 
on account of the arduous nature of his duties, and the deli- 
cate state of his health, to decline a re-election. 

Shortly after retiring from the presidency, he was elected 
to congress, but it docs not appear that he ever after took 
his seat in that body. The cancer which had for years af- 
flicted him, and which for a long time previously had to 
spread over his face as to oblige him to wear a g^een silk 
screen to conceal its ill appearance, now increased its ra- 
vages, and in the early part of the year 1783, brought him to 
the grave. 

It would be unnecessary, were it in our power, to add any 
thing further on the character of Mr. Rodney. He was, as 
our biographical notice clearly indicates, a man of great in- 
tegrity, and of pure patriotic feeling. He delighted, when 
necessary, to sacrifice his private interests for the public 
good. He was remarkably distinguished for a degree of 
good humour and vivacity ; and in generosity of charM lt r 
was an ornament to human nature. jd| 




GsoBGK Read was a native of the province of Mir^lanil, 
where he waa born in the year 1734. His gnndfalber wai 
an Irishman, who resided in the city of Dublin, and was poa- 
Mssed of a considerable fortune. His son, John Read, the 
&lher of the subject of the present memoir, baring emigrated 
to America, took up hia residence in Cecil county, where he 
pursued the occupation of a planter. Not long afier the 
birth of his eldest son, he removed with his family into tho 
province of Delaware, and settled in the county of Keveu- 
tie. Mr. Read designing his son for one of the learned pro- 
feaaions, placed him in a seminary rI Chester, in the province 
of Pennsylvania. Having there acquired the nidimenls of 
the learned languages, he was transferred to the care of that 
learned and accompHshi^d achokr, the Rev. Dr. Allison, a 
gentleman eminently qualified to superintend the education 
of young men. With this gcntlemBii young Mr. Read con- 
^nucd his studies until his serenlcenth year, when he enter- 
ed the oiHce of John Moland, Esq. a distinguiiihed lawyer in 
the city of Philadelphia, for the purpose of acquiring a know- 
ledge of the legal profession. The intense application, and 
the sober habits of Mr. Read, were at this time highly ho- 
nourable to him. While yet a student, he gave promise of 
future eminence in his profession. Mr. Moland rcpoacd so 
great contidcnce in his abilities, that even before he had fin- 
ished his preparatory studies, he entrusted to him a consider- 
able share of his attorney business. 

In 1753, at the early age of nineteen years, Mr. Read was 
admitted to the bar. On this event he performed an act of 
singular generosity in favour of the other children of the 
family. As the eldest son, he was entitled, by the existing 
laws, to two shares of his falhcr's estate, but he relinquished 
all his rights in favour of his brothers, assigning as a reason 
for this act, his belief that he had received his proper portion 
in the education which had been given him. 

tS the following year, he commenced the praetice of law. 


in the town ot Newcutle, and although suTTounded by gen- 
tlemen of high attaininenta in the piofesaioDi he soon ac- 
quired the confidence of the public, and obtained a respect- 
able share of busineaa. In 1763, he was appointed to suc- 
ceed John Rosa, as attorney' general of the three lower 
counties on the Delaware. This office, Mr. Read held untiT 
the yeor 1775, when, on being elected to congreaa, he re- 
tigned it. 

During the same year, Mr. Read was connected by mar- 
riage with a daughter of the Rer. John Ross, a clergyman, 
who had long presided orer an epiacopal church, in the town 
of Newcaatle. The character of Mrs. Read waa in every 
respect excellent. She possessed a Tigoroos understanding. 
In her person she waa beautiful, and to elegant mannera was 
added a deep and conaiatent piety. She waa also imbued 
with the spirit of a pure patriotiam. During the revolutionary 
. war, she waa often called to suffer many priTatioaa, and was 
frequently expoaed with her infant family to imminent danger, 
by reason of the predatory incursions, of the British. Yet, in 
the darkest hour, and amidst the most appalling danger, her^ 
fortitude was unshaken, and her courage undaunted. ^ - 

In the year 1765, Mr. Read was elected a representaUve 
from Newcastle county to the general aasembly of Delaware^ 
a post which he occupied for twelve yeara. In ihia atatioo, 
and indeed through his whole pohtical course, he appears to 
have been actuated neither by motives of self-interest nor 
fear. Dy an adherence to the royal cause, be had reason to 
anticipate office, honour, and wealth. But his patriotism and 
integrity were of too pure a character to be influenced by 
worldly preferment, or pecuniary reward. The question 
with him was, not what a worldly policy might dictate, but 
what reason and justice and religion would approve. 

On the first of August, 1774, Mr. Read was chosen a mem- 
ber of the continental congress, in connexion with Csaar 
Rodney, and Thomas M'Kean. To this station he was an- 
nually re-elected, during the whole revolutionary war, and 
was indeed present in the national assembly, except for a few 
abort intervals, during the whole of that period. • 



SMI BSL&VAM nuMunon. 

It has Blready been noticed, that when the great qnestioi 
of independence came before congreu, Mr. Read was op- 
poaed to the measare, and ultimately gare Ilia TOta againat 
it. This lie did from a aense of duty : not that he was 
nnfriendly to the liberties of hia country, or was actuated by 
^otivrs of seifishnesH or cowardice. But he deemed the 
agitation of (he question, at the lime, premature and inex* 
pedicnt In these aentiments, Mr. Read was not alone. Many 
gentlemen in the colonies, characterized for great wisdomi 
and a decided patriotism, deemed the measure impolitic, and 
would have roted, had they been in congress, ss he did. The 
idle bodings of these, fortunately, were never realised. They 
proved to be false prophets, but they were aa gengise 
patriots as othen. Nor were they, like some in similar cir- 
eumstances, dissatisfied with results, diflering from those 
which ihey had predicted. On the contrary, they rejoiced 
to find their anticipations were groundless. When, at length, 
the measure had received the sanction of the great national 
council, and the time arrived for signing the instrument, Mr. 
^Reud affixed his signature to it, with all the cordiality of 
' ^those who had voted in favour of the declaration itself. 

In the following September, Mr. Beadwaa elected presi- 
dent of the convention which formed the first conslitulioo 
of the state of Delaware. On the completion of this, he 
was offered the executive chair, but chose at that time to de- 
cline the honour. In 1777, the governor, Mr. M'Kinley, 
was captured by a detachment of British troops, when Mr. 
M'Kenn was called to take his place in this responsible office, 
the duties of which he continued to discharge, until the release 
of the former gentleman. 

In 1779, ill health required him to retire fur a season from 
public employment. In 1782, however, he accepted the ap- 
pointment of judge of the court of appeals in admiralty cases, 
an office in which he continued till the abolition of the court 

In 1787, he represented the state of Delaware in the con- 
vention which framed the constitution of the United States, 
under which he was immediately elected a member of the 
Senate. The dutiea of this exalted station he discharged till 


1703, when he accepted of a seat on the hench of the su- 
preme court of the state of Defeware, as chief justice. In 
this station he continued till the autumn of ITdS, when he 
was suddenly summoned to another world. 

In all the offices with which Mr. Read was entrusted hy 
his fellow citizens, he appeared with distinguished ability ; 
but it was as a judge that he stood pre-eminent For this 
station he was peculiarly fitted, not only by his unusual legal 
attainments, but by his singular patience in hearing all that 
council might deem important to bring forward, and by a 
cool and dispassionate deliberation of every circumstance 
which could bear upon the point in question. To this day 
his decisions are much respected in Delaware, and are often 
recurred to, as precedents of no doubtful authority. 

In private life, the character of Mr. Read was not less 
estimable and respectable. He was consistent in all the rela- 
tions of life, strict in the observance of his moral duties, 
and characterized by an expanded benevolence towards all 

•ronnH hitn. 



Thomas M*Kean was the second son of William M'Kean, 

a native of Ireland, who sometime after his emigration to 
America, was married to an Irish lady, with whom he settled 
in the township of New-London, county of Chester, and the 
province of Pennsylvania, where Thomas was born, on the 
nineteenth of March, 1734. 

At the age of nine years, he was placed under the care of 
the learned Dr. Allison, who was himself from Ireland, and 
of whose celebrated institution at New-London, we have al- 
ready had occasion to speak, in terms of high commendation. 
Besides an unusually accurate and profound acquaintance 
with the Latin and Greek classics, Dr. Albson was well in 


formed in moral philosophy, histoiy, and general litermtnn. 
To his zcil for the diffusion of knowledge, Pennsylrairit 
owes much of that taste for eo)id learning and cluneal litera- 
ture, for which many of her principal charmcten hara beea 
•o distinguished. 

Under the inslmclionB of this disdngnished scholsr, jrotuig 
M'Kean made rapid adrancei in a knowledge of the lan- 
guages, rhetoric, logic, and moral philosophy. Afler finuhing 
the regular course of studies, he was entered as a atndent U 
law, in the office of David Finney, a gentleman who wu r^ 
lated to him, and who resided in Newcastle, in Delaware. 
Before he had attained the age of twenty-one years, he com- 
menced the practice of law, in the courts of common {tleas for 
the cDunUes of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex, and also in the 
supreme court. His industry and talents soon became known, 
and secured to him a respectable share of business. In 1766^ 
he was admitted to practice in the courts of the city and 
county of Philadelphia. In the fullowing year he was ad- 
nutted to the bar of the supreme court ia Pennsylvania. In 
Athe same year the house of assembly elected him as their 
clerk, and in the following year he was re-appointed to the 

>Ir. M'Kean vas as yet a young roan, hut at this early 
age, he occupied an enviable rank among men of maturer 
years. He had held several offices of distinction, and fay his 
industry and assiduity, his judgment and ahility, be gave pro- 
mise of his future eminence. 

The political career of Mr. M'Kean commenced in the year 
1763, at which lime ho was returned a member of the assem- 
bly from the county of Newcastle, which county he continued 
to represent in that capacity for several successive years, al- 
though the last six ycara of that period he spent in Philadel- 
phia. In 1779, Mr. M'Kean appeared at Newcastle on the 
day of the general election in Delaware, and after a long and 
eloquent speech addressed to his constituents, he requested 
the privilege of being considered no longer one of their can- 
didates for the state legislature. Most tmexpectedly he was 
BOW placed in a peetdiarly delicate sitoation. His constitt' 

entSy although unwilling to dispense with hit services in ih% 
assembly, consented to comply with his wishes ; but at the 
same time requested him to nominate certain gentlemen* 
whom they should consider as candidates for the next general 
assembly. This was conferring on Mr. M*Kean an honour 
which must have been highly flattering. It was a mark of 
confidence in his judgment, without a parallel within our 
recollection. To a compliance with this request, Mr. M'Kean 
delicately gave his refusal ; but, it being repeated, he deliver- 
ed, with much reluctance, to the committee who waited upon 
him, the names of seven gentlemen, who were all elected with 
great unanimity. 

We have had frequent occasion, in these biographical no- 
tices, to speak of the congress which assembled in New-York 
in 1765, usually called the stamp act congress, its object being 
to obtain relief of the British government from the grievances 
generally under which the colonies were suffering, and of the 
stamp act in particular. Of that illustrious body Mr. M*Kean 
was a member, from the counties of Newcastle, Kent, and 
Sussex, on the Delaware. Of the proceedings of this first 
American congress, little has been known, or can probably ^ 
be collected, except from their general declaration of rights, 
and their address to the king, and petitions to parliament. 
Yet it is known, that in that congress, there were some who 
were distinguished for great energy and boldness of character. 
Among those of this description was James Otis of Boston, 
who, as Caesar Rodney afterwards said, *' displayed that light 
and knowledge of the interest of America, which, shining like 
a sun, lit up those stars which shone on this subject after- 
wards." In original firmness and energy, Mr. M'Kean was 
probably not greatly inferior to Mr. Otis. His independent 
conduct, on the last day of the session of the above congress, 
reflects the highest honour upon him, and deserves a special 
notice in every history of his life. 

A few of the members of this body appeared not only timid, 
but were suspected of hostility to the measures which had 
been adopted. Among these, was Timothy Kuggles, a repre- 
sentative from the province of Massachusettiy wbo ] 



elected president of the congress in preference to James Otis» 
by only a single vote. In conclusion of the business, and 
when the members were called upon to sign the proceedingn^ 
Mr. Ruggles, with a few others, refused to affix their signa- 

At this moment, Mr. M*Kean rose, and with great dignity, 
but with deep feeling, addressing himself to the president, 
requested him to assign his reasons, for refusing to sign the 
petitions. The president refused, on the ground that he was 
not bopnd in duty to state the cause of his objections. So 
uncourteous a refusal, especially as unanimity and harmony 
had prevailed during the session, called forth a rejoinder from 
Mr. M'Kean, in which he pressed upon the president the im- 
portance of an explanation. At length, after a considerable 
pause, Mr. Ruggles observed, that it was ** against his con 
science." " Conscience T' exclaimed Mr. M'Kean, as he rose 
from his seat, *^ conscience T' and he rung changes on the 
word so long and so loud, that at length the president, in a 
moment of irritation, gave Mr. M*Kcan, in the presence of 
the whole congress, a challenge to fight him, which was in- 
stantly accepted. The president, however, had no more 
courage to fight than to sign the proceedings of congress; and 
the next morning he was seen wending his way through the 
streets of New-York, towards the province of Massachusetts, 
the legislature of which, not long after, ordered him to be 

The only other member of the congress of 1766, who re- 
fused to sign the petitions, was Mr. Robert Ogden, at that 
time speaker of the house of assembly of New-Jersey. This 
gentleman, Mr. M^Kean strongly solicited in private to adopt 
a bold and manly course, by affixing his signature to the pro- 
ceedings of the congress. Arguments, however, were in 
vain ; yet he was reluctant that his constituents in New-Jer- 
sey should become acquainted with his refusal. It was, 
however, communicated to them. The people of New-Jer- 
sey, justly indignant at his conduct, burnt his effi^ in several 
towns, and on the meeting of the general assembly, he was 
removed from the office of speaker. As Mr. M'Kean, in ps«- 


lug through New-Jersey, had without hesitatioD, when asked* 
communicated the course which Mr. Ogden had taken, the 
latter gentleman, it is said, threatened him with a challenge, 
which, however, ended much as had the precipitate challenge 
of the president from Massachusetts. 

We must necessarily pass over several years of the life of * 
Mr. M^Kean, during which he was engaged in various public 
employments. A short time before the meeting of the con- 
gress of 1774, Mr. M'Kean took up his permanent residence 
in the city of Philadelphia. The people of the lower coun- 
ties on the Delaware were anxious that he should represent 
diem in that body, and he was accordingly elected as their 
delegate. On the 3d of September, he took his seat in that 
august assemblage. From this time, until the 1st of Febru- 
ary, 17S3, he continued annually to be elected a member of 
the great national council, a period of eight years and a half. 
This was the only instance, it is said, in which any gentleman 
was continued a member of congress, from 1774, to the 
signing of the preliminaries of peace in 1783. It is also 
worthy of notice, that at the same time he represented the 
state of Delaware in congress, he was president of it in 1781, 
and from July, 1777, was the chief justice of Pennsylvania. 
Such an instance of the same gentleman being claimed as a 
citizen of two states, and holding high official stations in both 
at the same time, is believed to be without a parallel in the 
history of our country. 

As a member of congress, Mr. M'Kean was distinguished 
for his comprehensive views of the subjects which occupied 
the deliberation of that body, and for the firmness and deci- 
sion which marked his conduct on all questions of great na- 
tional importance. On the 12th of June, 1776, he was 
appointed, in connexion with several others, a committee to 
prepare and digest the form of a confederation between the 
colonies. This committee reported a draught the same day ; 
but it was not finally agreed to until the 15th of November, 
1777, nor was it signed by a majority of the representatirai 
of the respective colonies, until the 9th of July, 11 
at this latter date, New- Jersey, Delai 


not authorized their delegates to radfjr and sigii the instra* 
ment But, in the November following, New-Jeraey acceded 
to the confederation, and on the 22d of February, 1779, Mr. 
M*Kean signed it in behalf of Delaware. Blaiyland ratified 
the act of union in March, 1781. 

On the great question of a declaration of independence. 
Mr. M*Kean was, from the first, decidedly in fiivonr of the 
measure. He subscribed his name to the original intrument 
deposited in the ofiice of the secretary of state, but it was 
omitted in the copy published in the journals of congress. 
This omission it is now impossible satisfactorily to explain 
The following letter on the subject, addressed by Mr. 
M'Kean to Mr. Dallas of Pennsylvania, on the 26th of Sep- 
tember, 1796, will, it is believed, be thought a valuable doen- 
ment : 

" Sir, 

'* Your favour of the 19th instant, respecting the Decla- 
ration of Independence, should not have remained so long 
unanswered, if the duties of my office of chief justice had 
not engrossed my whole attention, while the court was 

'* For several years past, I have been taught to tliink less 
unfavourably of scepticism than formerly. So many things 
have been misrepresented, misstated, and erroneously print- 
ed, (with seeming authenticity,) under my own eye, as in 
my opinion to render those who doubt of every thing, no! 
altogether inexcusable : The publication of the Declaration 
of Independence, on the 4th of July, 1776, as printed in the 
second volume of the Journals of Congress, page 241 ; and 
also in the acts of most public bodies since, so far as respects 
the names of the delegates or deputies, who made that De- 
claration, has led to the above reflection. By the printed 
publications referred to, it would appear, as if the fifty-five 
gentlemen, whose names are there printed, and none other, 
were on that day personally present in congress, and assent- 
ing to the Declaration ; whereas, the truth is otherwise. The 
following gentleman were not members of congress on tiM 

4lb of July, 1770; namely, Matthew Tbornton, Benjnmin 
Bush, George Clymer, Jamea Smith, George Taylor, and 
George Rosb. The fire last named were not chosen delegatef 
nnlil the SOth day of the month ; the first, not until the I2lb 
day of September following, nor did he take his seat in con- 
gress, until the 4th of November, which was four months 
after. The journals of Congress, (toI. ii. page 277 and 442.) 
u well as those of the assembly of the stale of Pennsylvania, 
(p. 53.) and of the general assembly of New-Hampshiret 
establish these facte. Although the six gentleman named 
had been very active in the American cause, and some of 
them, to my own knowledge, warmly in favour of indepen- 
dence, previous to the day on which it was declared, yet I 
personally know that none of them were in congress on that 

" Modesty should not rob any man of his just honour, 
when by that honour, his modesty cannot be offended. My 
name is not in the printed journals of congress, as a party to 
the Declaration of Independence, and this, like an error in 
the first concoction, has vitiated most of the subsequent pub- 
Ucations; and yet (he fact is, that I was then a member of 
congress fur the state of Delaware, was personally present 
in congress, and voted in favour of independence on the 4th 
of July, 1776, and signed the declaration a^cr it had been 
eogrossctl on parchment, where my name, in my own hand 
writing, still appears. Henry Misner, of the state of New- 
York, was also in congress, end voted for independence, i 
do nut know how the misstatement in the printed journal has 
happened. The manuscript public journal has no names 
annexed to the Declaration of Independence, nor has the 
secret journal ; but it appears by the latter, that on the lOlh 
day of July, 1770, the congress directed that it should be 
engrossed on parchment, and signed by every member, and 
that it was so produced on the 2d of August, and signed. 
This is interlined in the secret journal, in the hand of Charlea 
Thompson, the secretary. The present secretary of stats 
of the United States, and myself^ have lately inapaoted th« 
joornals, and seen this. The joomal « 

2u as* 

Mr. John Danlnp, in 1778, and probably co{neii withlhs 
names then signed to it, were printed in August, 1776^ mai 
thai Mr. Dunlap printed the names from one of then. 

"I hare now, sir, given you a trae, though brief^ hialoiy 
of this afTair ; and, asjiou are engaged in pnbliahing ■ nev 
edition of the Laws of Pennaylrania, I am obliged to yon 
for affording the favonnible opportunity of conreying to yon 
this information, authorizing yon to make any use of it yon 

" I am," dec. 

In the life of Mr. Rodney, we hare had occaaion to re- 
nark that Mr. M'Kean and Mr. Read roted in opposition to 
each other, when the question of independence was pnt in 
committee of the whole, on the let of July. Delaware was 
thus divided. As it was imprcbablc, in the estimation of Mr. 
M'Kean, that the views of Mr. Read would undergo a faronr- 
able change before the Una] question should be taken, he be- 
came exceedingly anxioua that Mr. Rodney, who he knew 
was in farour of the declaration, should be present At hb 
private expense he dispatched an express into Delaware to 
acquaint Mr. Rodney with the delicate posture of affairs, 
and to urge him to hasten his return to Philadelphia. For- 
tunatelj', by an exertion which patriotism only could have 
prompted him to make, that gentleman arrived in Philadel- 
phia, just as the members were entering the door of the state 
house, at the final discussion of the subject. Without even 
an opportunity of consulting Mr. M'Kean, on the momentoua 
question before them, he entered the hall with his spurs on 
his boots. Scarcely had he taken his seat, before the report 
of the chairman of the committee of the whole was read. 
Boon afler which the great question was put Mr. M'Kean 
and Mr. Rodney voted in favour on the part of Delaware, 
and thus contributed to that unanimity among tho colonies, 
on this great subject, without which a declaration had been 
worse than in vain. 

At the time congress passed the declaration of indepen- 
dence, the aitnation of Washington nnd \at army, in Nev<Je^ 


wy was exceedingly precarious. On the 5th of July, it was 
agreed by several public comrailtees in Philadelphia, to 
dispatch all the associated militia of the state to the asust- 
ance of Washington, where they were to continue, until ten 
thousand men could he raised to relieve them. Mr. M'Kean 
was at this time colOncl of a regiment of associated militia. 
A few days following the declaration of independence, he was 
on his way to Perth Amboy, in New-Jersey, at the head of 
his battalion. In a letter, dated at head quarters, Perth Am- 
boy, July 26th, 1776, he describes the narrow escape which 
he had in executing an order of the commander-in-chief^ 
which required him to march his battalion into the town. 
Banng put his troops in motion, nnder Lieutenant Colonel 
Dean, he mounted his horae, and proceeded to wait upon the 
general for more particular orders. At this time, the enemy's 
batteries were playing along the road which it was necessaiy 
for him to take. Amidst balls, which were flying in every di- 
rection around him, ho proceeded to the general's he<.d 
quarters. An order had just been issued to prevent the bbt- 
talion from proceeding into the town. It became necessary, 
therefore, for him to fallow them, in order to stop them. As 
he turned to execute the order, a horse at a short distance 
from him was shot through the necli by a cannon ball, and 
such was the incessant discharge from the enemy's batteries 
along the road, over which he passeil, that it appeared impos- 
sible that he should escape. A merciful providence, however, 
protected him on his return. Ho executed his order, and 
safely marched his troops to the camp. 

The associate mililia being at length discharged,Mr. M'Kean 
returned to Philadelphia, and was present in his seat in con- 
gress on the second of August, when the rngrossed copy of 
the declaration of independence was signed by the members. 
A few days after this, receiving intelligence of his having 
been elected a member of the convention in Delaware, assem- 
bled for the purpose of forming a constitution for that stalet 
he departed for Dover, which place he reached in ■ single 
day. Although excessively fatigued, on his Brriral, at th* 
request of a committee of gentlemen of the e<mn 


retired to his room in the public inn, where he was emplojed 
the whole night in preparing a constitution for the future go* 
Ternment of the state. This he did without the least assist- 
ance, and even without the aid of a book. At ten o* clock 
the next morning it was presented to the coavention, by 
whom it was unanimously adopted. 

In the year 1777, Mr. M*Kean was appointed president 
of the state of Delaware^ and on the twenty-eighth of July of 
the same year, he received from the supreme executive coun- 
cil the commission of chief justice of Pennsylvania. The 
duties of this latter station he continued to discharge for 
twenty-two years. At the time of his accepting the commis- 
sion, he was speaker of tlie house of assembly, presidedl of 
Delaware, as already noticed, and member of congress. 

The duties of so many ofTiccs pressed with too much weight 
upon Mr. M^Kcan, and he found himself compelled to offer 
his resignation, in 17S0, to the people of Delaware, as their 
delegate to congress. They were, however, unwiiluig to dis- 
pense with his services, and he continued still to represent 
the state in the national council. In July of the following 
year, on the resignation of Samuel Huntington, he was elect- 
ed president of congress, a station which he found it neces- 
sary in the following October to relinquish, as the duties of it 
interfered with the exercise of his office of chief justice of 
Pennsylvania. On accepting his resignation, it was resolved : 
** that the thanks of congress be given to the honourable 
Thomas M*Kean, late president of congress, in testimony of 
their approbation of his conduct in the chair, and in the exe- 
cution of public business." 

We must here devote a paragraph to speak of Mr. M^Kean, 
in the exercise of his judicial functions. As a judge, he had 
few equals, in this, or any other country. At this time the 
law of the state of Pennsylvania was in a great measure un- 
settled. It devolved upon him to reduce it to a system. His 
decisions were remarkably accurate, and often profound. He 
was distinguished for great perspicuity of language, for an 
easy and perfectly intelligible explication of even intricate 
and difficult cases. In his mannersy while presiding* to a 

proper aflability, he united great dignitf. In ihort, few rasa 
while living have acquired a higher reputation than did chief 
jnsUce H'Kean, and few hare enjoyed) alter death, a greater 
ahare of judicial fame. 

In the year 1788, an attempt was made to impeach the eon- 
dnct of Mr. M'Kean, as chief juRtice. The ground of accusa- 
tion arose from the following circuraalance. Eleazer Oiwald, 
in a column of a paper of which he waa editor, attempted to 
prejudice the minds of the people, in a cause then in court, 
in which he was defendant ; at the same time casting highly 
improper reflec^ons upon the judges. In conBideralion of 
this contempt of court, the judges inflicted a £ne upon Os- 
wald of ten pounds, and directed him to be imprisoned far 
tAc Apnce of one month, that \s, from the ffteenth day of July 
to the fifteenth day of August. At the expiration of twenty 
eight days, a legal month, Oswald claimed his discharge. The 
sherifT, upon this, consulted Mr. M'Kean, who not knowing 
that the sentence was enlcred upon the record "/or the space 
of one month," without the explanatory clause, directed the 
riieriffto detain the priaoncr undl the morning of the fifteenth 
of August. Finding his mistake, however, he directed Oswald 
to be discharged ; but as he had been detained beyond the 
time specified in the sentence, he presented a memorial to the 
general Dssembly, complaining of the chief justice, and de- 
manding his impeachment. After a discussion of the subject 
by the assembly for several days, and a long examination of 
witnenses, it wag at length resolved : " that this house, having, 
in a committee of the whole, gone into a full examination of 
the charges exhibited by Eleazer Oswald, of arbitrary and 
oppressive proceedings in the justices of the supreme court, 
against the said Eleazer Oswald, are of the opinion, that the 
charges are unsupported by the testimony adduced, and, coo- 
■equently, that there is no just cause for impeaching the said 

Of the convention of Pennsylvania, which was assembled 
on the iweniieth of November, 1187, to ratify the constitution 
of the United Stales, Mr. M'Kean was delegated a member 
&om the diy of Philadelphia. In Ibis convention, Mr 

H V 


H'Ke&a and Mr. Wilson, of the latter of whom we hare ipa 
km in a former biographical akelch, took the lead. On the 
twenty-sixth of this month, the former submitted the folluw- 
ing molion : " That this conrention do asseat to, and ratilj 
the conslitntion agreed to od the seventeenth of Septembei 
Uat, b]r the convention of the Uaited States of America, held 
at FhiladelphiB." On a subBequciil day, he entered at length 
into the merits of the cooslitation, which he demonslrvted ia 
the most masterly manner, and triumphantly aniwered the 
rariouB objections which had been urged against it. In the 
conclusion of this eloquent speech, he used t!ie following 
language : " The law, sir, has been my study from my inlaB- 
ey, and my only profession. I have gone through the otcIc 
of oiGce, in the legislative, executive, and judicial, depait- 
menls of government ; and from all my study, observation, 
and experience, 1 must declare, that from a full cxamiafttion 
and due consideration of this system, it appears to me the 
beat the world has yet seen. 

"I congratulate you on the fair prospect of its being 
adopted, and am hsppy in the expectation of uecing accom- 
plished, what has been long my ardent wish — that you will 
hereafter have a salutary permajietici/ in magistracy, and 
ttahility in the laws." 

In the following year, the legislature of Pennsylvania took 
measures for calling a convention, to coneider in what re- 
spects their state constitution required alteration and amend 
ment. This eonveniion commenced its session on the 24th 
of November, 1769 ; Mr. M'Kean appeared and took hiii seat 
as a delegate from the city of Philadelphia. When the cob- 
rention resolved itself into a coromiltee of the whole, on the 
subject of altering or amending the constitution, he was ap- 
pointed chairman. During the whole of (he deliberations, he 
presided with great dignity and ability, for which he received 
the unanimous thanks of the convention. In 1779, Mr. M'Kean 
was elected to the chief mRgistracy of the state of Fennsyl-' 
▼ania. His competitor at this time, was the able and distin* 
fished James Ross. Mr. M'Kean belonged to the poliliu 
of Mr. Jefferaon, to whoie elevation to the presidency of tba 


Dnited States, his election is supposed to hare powerfuUjr 
contributed. The administration of Mr. M'Kean was mark- 
ed with ability, and with ultimate benefit to the state ; yet 
the numerous removals from office of his political opponents* 
produced great excitement in the state, and, perhaps, upon 
the whole, betrayed, on his part, an unjustifiable degree of 
political asperity. 

During the years 1807 and 1806, through the influence of 
a number of the citizens of the city and county of Philadel- 
phia, an inquiry was instituted by the legislature into the offi- 
cial conduct of Governor M^Kean. The committee appointed 
for this purpose reported to the legislature : 

" I. That the governor did, premeditatedly, wantonly, un- 
justly, and contrary to the true intent and meaning of the 
constitution, render void the late election, (in 1806,) of a she- 
Tiffin the city and county of Philadelphia. 

**IL That he usurped a judicial authority, in issuing a 
warrant for the arrest and imprisonment of Joseph Cabrera ; 
and interfered in favour of a convict for forgery, in defiance 
of the law, and contrary to the wholesome regulations of the 
prison in Philadelphia, and the safety of the citizens. 

** III. That, contrary to the true intent and meaning of the 
constitution, and in violation of it^ did he appoint Dr. George 
Buchanan lazaretto physician of the port of Philadelphia. 

*♦ IV. That, under a precedent, acknowledged to have been 
derived from the king of Great Britain, and contrary to the 
express letter of the constitution, did he sufifer his name to be 
stamped upon blank patents, warrants on the treasury, and 
other official papers, and that, too, out of his presence. 

** Y. That, contrary to law, did he supersede Dr. James 
Reynolds as a member of the board of health. 

" VI. That, contrary to the obligations of duty, and the 
injunctions of the constitution, did he offer and authorize 
orertures to be made to discontinue two actions of the com- 
monwealth against William Duane and his surety, for an al- 
leged forfeiture of two recognizances of one thousand 
dollars each, on condition that William Duane would discon- 
tiinie civil actions against his son Joseph B. M^Kean, and 


otliert) for damages for a murderona aaaaalt, eommitted hj 
Joseph H'KeaD, mod othen, on William Dnatie." 

This report the committee followed by affixing the follow 
ing resolution : 

" Resolved. That Thomu M'Kean, governor of this 
commonweallb, be impeached of high crimes and oiisde- 

On die twenty-eerentb of Januar}*, the bouse proceeded to 
the consideration of the above resolution, and on the aame 
iny indefinitely postponed the further consideratioa of the 

Although this attempt to impeach the governor was thus 
unauccessful, the following day he presented to the house a 
reply to the charges which had been exhibited againal him 
by the committee of inquiry. After being rc&d, a motion 
was made to insert it at large on the journal, which, at length, 
was carried in the afiirmative. 

In the course of this reply, which contained, in the view 
of temperate men, a triumphant vindication of his charscter, 
Mr. M'Kean observed as follows : " That I may have erred 
in judgment ; that I may have been mistaken in my general 
views of public policy ; and that I may have been deceived 
by the objects of executive confidence, or benevolence — I va 
not so vain nor so credulous as to deny ; though, in the 
present instance, I am still without the proof and without 
the belief; but the firm and fearless position which I take, 
invites the strictest scrutiny, upon a fair exposition of our 
constitution and laws, into the sincerity and truth of the 
general answer given to my accusers — tJuit no act of «y 
public life was ever done from a corrupt motive, nor vnA- 
out a deliberate opinion that the act was laipfiU and proper 
in itself" 

At the close of the year 1808, Mr. M'Kean, having occu- 
pied the chair of stale during the constitutional period of nine 
years, retired from the cares of a long life to the enjoyment 
of a peaceful retirement, rendered doubly grateful by iht 
consciousness of a well earned and honourable fame. In 
the enjoyment of this retirement, he lived until the twenQr- 

MMDEL CHMk. 346 

senate of the United Stale*, where he narrowly escaped eoa- 
demnation. This impeachment was made in 1804, and was 
recommended by a committee of inquiry, raised, it ia said, on 
the motion of John Randolph, of Virginia, to which he wa* 
incited through political animogity. The articles of impeach- 
ment originally reported were six in number, to which two 
others were afterwards added. On these articles Judge Chasa 
was put upon his trial, which began on die second of Jannaryt 
and was finally ended on the fifth of March, 1805. 

The articles of impeachment were founded on certain coi^ 
dact of the judge, on diflerent occasions, at Philadelphia, Rich- 
mond, and other places, in which he was said to have tran- 
scended his judicial powers. The minute history of this 
affair, our limits forbid us to detail. It is sufficient to say, that 
much exertion was made by his polidcal opponents to pro- 
duce a conviction, but without effect. On five of the charges 
a majority of the senate acquitted him. On the others, a ma- 
jority was against him ; but as a vote of two thirds is neces- 
sary to conviction, he was acquitted of the whole. 

This was a severe trial to a man of the independent spirit 
of Jndge Chase. Its disagreeableness was not a little increas- 
ed by a severe attack of the gout, during the progress of the 
impeachment. After his acquittal, he continued to exercise 
his judicial functions, unmolested by his enemies, and with 
his usual ability. 

In the year 1811, his health began to fail him, and though 
his disease was slow in its progress, he well understood, that 
it was of a nature to bring him to the grave. His death oc- 
curred on the nineteenth of June. In his dying hour, he ap- 
peared calm and resigned. He spoke of his domestic affain 
with great propriety, and to his weeping family recommend- 
ed composure and fortitude. He was a firm believer in 
Christianity, and but a short time before his death, having 
partaken of the sacrament, he declared himself to be in peace 
with all mankind. In hia will, he directed that no mourning 
ahonld be worn for him, and requested that only his Dame* 
with the dates of his birth and death, should be inscribed oo 
Ida tomb. 



From die foregoing sketch, it is etsf to perceiTe that Judgt 
Cbaae tru no ordiiury man. He pouoHed an intellect of 
great power, and a courage which was at all timee ondaantei 
It wsi bia untiappinesH to hare feelings which were too iraa- 
oible and rehemont for his personal comfort, and which be- 
trayed him at Umes, into a course of conduct, that aober 
judgment would hare pronounced at least impolitic Tet few 
men were more sincere, or more firmly patriotic. He U- 
denlly lored his friends, and by them, was ardently loved in 
turn. He loved his country. In the days of her deepeat de- 
pression, he stood firm to her interests, and will occapy ■ 
distinguished place among those who hare " graced lb* ndb 


WitLiAK Paca was bom on the 3Ut of October, 17401 
He was the second son of John Paca, a gentleman of largs 
estate, who resided in the county of Harford, in the state of 
Maryland. His father, sensible of tlie importance of a good 
education, placed hi» boh, at a proper age, in the college it 
Philadelphia, at that time under the care of the learned and 
eloquent Dr. William Smith. On commencing bachelor of 
arts, in 1759, he entered the office of Stephen Bradley, a dis- 
tinguished lawyer of Annapolis, for the purpose of pursuing 
tl^ profession of law. 

Mr. Pace was a diligent student, and early gave promise of 
eminence inhis profession. He was licensed to pracdce in 1761, 
and was admitted to thebar at the provincial court in 1764. Ha 
eatabUshed himself at Annapolis, where be had for his con^ 
petilors, John Price, and Samuel Chase, with the latter Ot 
whom he became intimately acquainted, and with whom be 
acted an important part during the reTolutionary struggle. 

The political career of Mr. Paca commenced jn 1771t at 


which time he was appointed to represent the county in the 
popular branch of the legislature. At this time, and for le* 
veral years after, much contention existed between the go- 
vernment of Maryland, which was proprietary, and the peo- 
ple. The goFemment consisted of three branches : a house 
of burgesses, the members of which were selected by the 
people. The second branch was called the upper house, the 
members of which Were elected and removed, at the pleasure 
of the proprietor. The goremor formed the third branch, 
without whose assent no act of assembly was vaHd. And in 
addition to this, the proprietor himself, who generally resid* 
«d in England, claimed the privilege of dissenting from sudi 
laws as he pleased, although they had received the sanction 
of the above branches of the legislature. Hence, there was 
often no small collision between the lower house, or those 
who represented the people, and the upper house and go- 
vernor, who were considered as under the influence of the 

In this provincial assembly, Mr. Paca represented the peo 
pie, whose interests he strongly felt, and faithfully guarded. 
The interests of the proprietor and of the people were often 
thought' to be at variance. An avaricious and oppressive 
epirit marked the proceedings of the proprietor and his par- 
tisans. It was important, therefore, for the people, to have 
men to represent them in the house of burgesses, who un- 
derstood their rights, and were sufficiently bold to assert and 
maintain them. Such a man was Mr. Paca. He was learn- 
ed as to a knowledge of law, and of the principles of the 
proprietary government ; and at all times, when necessary, 
sufficiently courageous to resist the aggressions of avarke, 
and the usurpations of t3rranny. 

The following anecdote will illustrate the bold and inde- 
pendent spirit of Mr. Paca. In 1771, an act expired in 
Maryland, the object of which was to regulate the staple of 
tobacco, and the fees of certain officers. This act the house 
of burgesses refused to continue, without a reduction of the 
officers' fees. As neither branch of the assembly would ro- 
from the ground it had taken, the fee bill felL In this 


state of things, the governor issued his proclamation 
ing the officers to proceed according to the old law. 

The commotion excited throughout the province 
great, and at some places, particularly at Annapolis, erea 
tumultuous. At this latter place, a multitude of citizens col- 
lected to express their abhorrence of the conduct of the go- 
Temor. At the head of this multitude were Mr. Paca and 
Mr. Chase. A procession was formed, 'and with these two 
gentlemen for leaders, they proceeded to a gallows which 
had been previously erected, upon which they hung the 
governor's proclamation, in due form, with a halter. At 
length it was taken down, inclosed in a coffin prepared for 
the purpose, and consigned to a grave dug beneath the gal* 
lows. During the whole ceremony, minute guns were fired 
from a schooner owned by Mr. Paca, which was stationed at 
no great distance. In conclusion, the citizens marched back 
to the city, where they devoted the remainder of the day to 

The controversy to which we have now alluded had long 
existed, and continued to exist, quite down to the era of the 
revolutionary struggle. When that struggle commenced, 
about the year 1774, there were men, therefore, in Maryland, 
who were well prepared to enter into it, with energy and de- 
cision. They had been trained in the school of controversy. 
They had studied every chapter relating to American rights; 
and possessing a boldness and a courage commensurate with 
their knowledge, they were prepared to act a decided part 

Of the illustrious congress of 1774, Mr. Paca was a mem- 
ber, in conjunction with Samuel Chase, and several others. 
They were instructed by the Maryland convention, from 
which they received their appointment : " To effect one 
general plan of conduct, operating on the commercial con- 
nexion of the colonies with the mother country, for the 
relief of Boston, and the preservation of American liberty." 
As a member of this congress, Mr. Paca so well pleased his 
constituents, that he was re-appointed to the same station, 
until the year 1778, at the close of which he retired. 

Mr. Paca was an open advocate for a declaration of inde* 


In 1763, Mr. Chase being accidentally in Baltimore, was 
inrited to attend the meeting of a club of young m^n, who 
assembled at stated times, for the purpose of debating 
Among the speakers of the evening, there was one who, 
from his force of argument, and gracefulness of delivery, 
attracted his attention. At the close of the debate, Mr. Chase 
entered into conversation with him, and advised him to think 
of the profession of law. The young man was at the time a 
clerk in an apothecary's shop. Finding him destitute of the 
means necessary for an undertaking so expensive, Mr. Chase 
kindly offered him the benefit of his library, his instruc- 
tion, and his table. That young man was William Pinkney. 
He accepted the invitation of his generous benefactor, who 
afterwards had the pleasure of seeing him one of the most 
distingubhed lawyers ever at the American bar. It may be 
proper to add in this place, that he was afterwards attorney 
general of the United States, and a minister in successive 
years at the courts of St. James, at Naples, and St. Peters- 
burg. In the same year, Mr. Chase visited England, on be- 
half of the state of Maryland, for the purpose of reclaiming 
a large amount of property, which, while a colony, she had 
entrusted to the bank of England. In the prosecution of 
this business, he continued in England about a year, in which 
time he had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with many 
of the distinguished men of that country, among whom were 
Pitt, and Fox, and Burke. Although unsuccessful in accom- 
plishing the object of his mission, while he continued in 
England, he put the claim in so favourable a train, that at 
a subsequent period, the state recovered about six hundred 
and fifty thousand dollars. While in England, he was mar- 
ried to his second wife, the daughter of Dr. Samuel Giles, of 
Kentbury, with whom, in 1784, he returned to America. 

In the year 1786, at the pressing invitation of his friend. 

Colonel Howard, he removed from Annapolis to Baltimore. 

By this gentleman, he was generously presented with a 

square of ten lots of land, upon a spot in which he erected a 

house, in which he lived until his death. On his removal 

from Annapolis, the corporntion of that city tendered to him 



the expression! of their respect, in the foHowing address* 
^^Sir, the mayor, aldermen, and common connciknen of the 
city of Annapolis, impressed with a due sense of the sendees 
rendered to this corporation hy you, in the capacity of re- 
corder thereof^ do take this occasion to assure you of their 
entire approbation of your conduct in the performance of the 
duties of that trust, and to acknowledge your ready exertion, 
at all times, to promote the interest and welfare of this city. 
They sincerely regret the occasion of this address, as your 
removal from the city of Annapolis will deprive this body of 
a faithful and able officer, and the city of a valuable citizen. 
You have our warmest wishes for your happiness and wel- 

To this address, Mr. Chase returned the following an- 
swer : '* The address of the mayor, aldermen, and common 
councilman of this city, presented me this day, affords me 
just pleasure, as I flatter myself they speak the genuine senti- 
ments of the citizens. As recorder of the city, duty and in 
clination urged me to enforce due obedience to the by-laws, 
and assist in the framing of ordinances for the regulating the 
police of the city. In the discharge of this duty, I ever re- 
ceived the ready assistance of my brethren on the bench, 
and of the other members of the corporation, and but a smaD 
portion of merit is due to me. My abilities have been much 
overrated by the corporation ; I only wish they had been 
equal to my inclination to serve them. 

** As one of the delegates of Annapolis, my public powers 
were exerted on all occasions to promote the interest and 
welfare of the city ; and supported by my colleagues, my 
endeavours were in some instances crowned with success. I 
feel myself amply rewarded by the approbation of the body 
over whom you have the honour to preside. There can be 
nothing more agreeable to a public character, than to receive 
the public approbation of his conduct, from those who speak 
the collected and unbiassed sense of his constituents ; and it 
is the only reward a free and virtuous people can bestow, 
and the only one an honest representative can expect. 

'*Be pleased to present the corporation my warmest 

. BIMUXL CHASl. 343 

visbes for their prosperity, and I sincerely hope that the 
city of Annapolis may be forever distinguished for the har- 
mony and friendship, the benevolence and patriotism of ita 

In Uie year 1788, Mr. Chase was appointed the presiding 
judge of a court of criminal jurisdiction, for the county and 
town of Baltimore, at that time organized. This situa- 
tion, howerer, did not prevent him from the practice of his 
professioK, in which lie continued until the year 1701, when 
he accepted the appointment of chief justice of the genernl 
court of Maryland. In a previous year, Mr. Chase had served 
in the convention of Maryland, assembled to ratify the 
federal constitution on the part of Maryland. With this In- 
strument he was not entirely pleased, considering it n&t 
sufficiently democratical. He is said to have belonged to the 
federal party in the country, and so to have continued to the 
end of his life ; but not to hiLvc entertained that parUality 
for England which has been ascribed to that party. With 
this peculiarity of views and feelings, Mr. Chssa was not, as 
might be expected, without his enemies. 

Id the year IT&i, an event occurred in the city of Balti- 
more, which gave an opportunity to Judge Chase of exhibit- 
ing the firmness of his character, in respect to maintaining 
the dignity of the bench and the supremacy of the law. The 
event to which we allude was the tarring and feathering of 
two men, in the public streets, on an occasion of some popu- 
lar excitement. The circumstances of the case were inves- 
tigated by Judge Chase, in the issue of which inreadgation, 
he caused two respectable and popular men to be arrested u 

On being arraigned before the court, they refused to give 
bait. Upon this the judge informed them that they must go 
to jail. Accordingly, be directed the sheriff to take one of the 
prisoners to jail. This the sheriff informed the judge he 
could not do, as he apprehended resistance. " Summon the 
posse comitatus then," exclaimed the judge. " Sir," said the 
iheriffi " no one will serve." " Summon me then," said Judge 


Chase, in a tone of I0A7 indignation, ** I will be the pome 
comitatos, and I wiU take him to jail.** 

A member of the bar now begged leare to interpose, and 
requested the judge to waive the commitment " No, God for- 
bid,** replied the judge, " I will do my dutj, whaterer be the 
consequences to myself or my family.'* He now directed the 
parties to meet him the next day, and to give him the required 
security. He was told that the next day would be the sabbath 
''No better day,** said Judge Chase, **can be named, on 
wliich to execute the laws of the country. I will meet yon 
here, and from this seat of justice I will go to the house of 

The parties in question, however, neglected to give the re- 
quired security on the sabbath, on account of which nefflect, 
the judge despatched an express to the governor and council, 
calling upon them for assistance in the execution of the laws. 
.On Monday the required security was given ; but when the 
grand jury met, instead of finding a bill against the accused, 
they delivered a presentment against Judge Chase himself, 
in which they reflected with severity upon his censure of the 
sheriff, and charged him with having violated the bill of rights, 
by holding at the same time two incompatible offices, viz. 
the office of chief justice of the criminal court, and that of the 
general court of the state. To this presentment Judge Chase 
replied with becoming moderation, and yet with firmness. In 
conclusion, he informed the jury that they had touched upon 
topics beyond their province ; he advised them to confine 
themselves to the line of their duty, assuring them that what- 
ever opinions they might form, or whatever resentments they 
might indulge, he should ever respect them as the grand in- 
quest of the state of Maryland. 

In the year 1796, he was appointed by Washington an as- 
sociate judge of the supreme court of the United States, a sta- 
tion which he continued to occupy for fiAeen years, and in 
which he generally appeared with great dignity and ability. 
It was the ill fortune of Judge Chase, however, to have his 
latter days on the bench embittered by an impeachment by 
the house of representatives, on which he was tried before the 



fourth of Junci ISIT, when he was gathered to the generation 
of his fathers, at the uncommon age of eighty-three years, 
two months, and sixteen days. He lies interred in the burial 
ground of the First Presbyterian Church, in Market-street, 

2X 29 



Thomas Stone, 
Charles Carroll. 


Samuel Chase was the son of the Rev. Thomas Chase, a 
clergyman of distinction, in the protestant episcopal church 
who, after his emigration to America, married the daughter 
of a respectable farmer, and settled, for a time, in Somerset 
county, in Maryland, where this son was bom, on tne 17th of 
April, 1741. 

In 1743, Mr. Chase removed to Baltimore, having been ap- 
pointed to the charge of St. Paul's church, in that place 
Even in Baltimore, at this period, there was no school of a 
high order. The instruction of his son, therefore, devolved 
upon Mr. Chase, than whom few, fortunately, were better 
qualified for such a charge. His own attainments in classi- 
cal learning were much superior to those who had been edu- 
cated in America. Under the instruction of one so well 
qualified to teach, the son soon outstripped most of his com- 
peers, and at the early age of eighteen was sent to Annapolis, 
to commence the study of law. After a sedulous attention 
to his preparatory course, for two years, he was admitted to 
practice in the mayor's cojrt, and two years from this latter 

date, was licensed for the chancery, and some of the conntj 
coarts. Finding the number of practitioners at Annapolis 
small, he settled in that place as a lawyer, where he was soon 
after connected in marriagre with an amiable and intelligent 
lady, by whom he had two sons and two daughters, all o 
whom survived their parents. 

The incidents in the life of Mr. Chase, for several year% 
were but few. Devoted to his professional duties, he not 
only acquired a respectable share of business, but became 
highly distinguished for his legal attainments. 

The political career of Mr. Chase commenced about the 
time of the congress of 1774, in which body he acted as a de- 
legate from Maryland. This station he continued to occupy 
for several years. In the spring of 1776, he was appointed 
by congress, in conjunction with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Car- 
roll, to a trust of a most important nature. This was a mis- 
sion to Canada, the object of which was, to induce the inha- 
bitants of that country -to withdraw their connexion from 
Great Britain, and to join the American confederacy. The 
undertaking was attended with great difficulties ; but as Mr. 
Chase, though young, was distinguished for his abilities, and 
characterized for a most ardent patriotism, he was appointed 
one of the commissioners. Mr. Carroll, and his brother, af- 
terwards the archbishop of Baltimore, were added to the com- 
mission, under an apprehension that they might exercise a 
salutary influence with the catholics in Canada. Although 
the objects of the expedition were not attained, the fidelity of 
the commissioners was never, for a moment, questioned. 

On his return to Philadelphia, Mr. Chase found that a pro- 
position had been made in congress to issue a declaration of 
independence. The situation of the Maryland delegation, in 
respect to such a measure, was peculiarly trying. They had 
been expressly prohibited, by the convention which appointed 
them, from voting in favour of a declaration of independence ; 
and, as they had accepted their appointments under this re- 
striction, they did not feel at liberty to give such a measure 
their active and open support. 

It was not compatible with the independent and patriotic 


spirit of Mr. Chasey quietly to endure such a situation, fi^ 
left congress* and proceeded to Ifaryland. He traTersed the 
province* and, assisted by hb colleagues and friends, as- 
sembled county meetings, and persuaded the inhabitants to 
send addresses to the convention, then sitting at Annapolis, 
in favour of independence. Such an eicpression of cordiality 
to a measure, the convention could not resist, and at length 
gave an unanimous vote in its favour. With this vote, Mr. 
Chaae hastened to Philadelphia, where he arrived in time to 
take his seat on Monday morning, having rode, on the two 
previous days, one hundred and fifty miles. On the day of 
his arrival, the resolution to issue a declaration of indepen- 
dence came before the house, and he had the pleasure of 
uniting with a majority in favour of it 

This success was a sufficient reward for all the labour 
which he had sustained, in accomplishing an object so de- 
sirable. A pure patriotism only, however, could have sus- 
tained the fathers of the revolution,, under all the toils and 
fatigue which they endured. They were fitted for high and 
mighty enterprises. Common dangers, and common suffer- 
ings, they regarded not. The object presented to their view, 
was connected with the liberty not only of themselves, but 
with the millions of their future posterity. With this object 
before them, therefore, they heeded not danger, nor were 
they subdued, or even disheartened, by the most unexpected 

Our limits permit us not to enter into a minute detail of 
the congressional services rendered by Mr. Chase, during 
several years which followed the declaration of indepen- 
dence. In the number, variety, and importance of those 
services, he was probably surpassed by few. He possessed, 
beyond most others, an ardour of mind, which sometimes, in 
debate, carried him almost beyond the bounds of propriety. 
There were some others from time to time in congress of a 
similar stamp. They were important members ; they served 
to animate that body by the warmth which they manifested 
in debate, and to rouse the more supine or timid to action, as 
the necessity of the times required. 


pendence, as were several of his colleagues. For the ac- 
eomplisliment of such an object, they laboured with unwea- 
ried zeal. A majority of the people of Maryland, howeren 
were not prepared for such a measure. They still felt 
* strong affection for the king, and the mother country, to- 
wards whom they expressed by their convention, early in 
ihe year 1776, many professions of loyalty and regard. 

At the same time, they strictly enjoined their representa- 
tives in congress, not to consent to any propositions for pub- 
lishing a declaration of independence, and accompanied 
these restrictions with a resolution, that Maryland would not 
be bound by any vote of congress, which should sanction 
such a measure. 

. In the life of Mr. Chase, we have related the manner in 
which a change was effected among the people in relation to 
this subject, particularly through the instrumentality of Mr. 
Chase. On the 2Sth of June, the convention of Maryland 
recalled their instructions to their delegates, whom they left 
free to vote in favour of a declaration of independence. In 
consequence, tlieir vote was given in its favour, shortly after 
which the convention expressed their approbation of the 
measure, and in support of it pledged their lives and fortunes 
and sacred honour. 

Early in the year 1778, Mr. Paca was appointed chief jus- 
tice of the supreme court of his state, an office which he 
continued to exercise with great ability, until 1780, when he 
was advanced by congress to the still more important office 
of chief judge of the court of appeals, in prize and admiralty 
cases. In this new station, he acquitted himself with great 
honour. He entered with ability into the subject of inter- 
national law, and had the happiness to learn that his deci- 
sions were highly approved, both at home and abroad. 

In 178% he was elected to the chief magistracy of his na- 
tive state. Here, again, he was distinguished for great cor-* 
rectness and integrity, for dignity and simplicity. He en- 
tered with zeal into the interests of literature and religioiu 
both of which he promoted by his private 
exeeotive patronage* Theae anbjeeia 



mended to the general assembly in the followiiif langoaga 
**It is far from our intention," said he, ^ to embarrass your 
deliberations with a variety of objects ; but we cannot pass 
OTor matters of so high concernment as religion and learning. 
The sufferings of the minijters of the gospel of all denomi- 
Bations, during the war, hare been Tery considerable ; antf 
the persererance and firmness of those, who discharged theh 
sacred functions under many discouraging circumstances, 
claim our acknowjedgments and thanks. The bill of rights 
and form of government recognize the principle of public 
support for the ministers of the gospel, and ascertain the 
mode. Anxiously solicitous for the blessings of government, 
and the welfare and happiness of our citizens, and thoroughly 
convinced of the powerful influence of religion, when dif- 
fused by its respectable teachers, we beg leave most seriously 
and warmly to recommend, among the first objects of your 
attention, on the return of peace, the making such provision 
as the constitution, in this case, authorizes and approves." 

The recommendation of Governor Paca was kindly re- 
ceived by the assembly, which passed several acts in aid of 
the several denominations of christians, which were at that 
time numerous in Maryland. The interest which he mani- 
fested in favour of religion, met the warm approbation of 
the various sects ; and from the episcopalians, in particular, 
it elicited, through their convention, a formal expression of 

After holding the office of chief magistrate for one year, 
Mr. Paca retired to private life, until 1786, when he again 
accepted the executive chair for a single year. 

In 1789, on the organization of the federal government, 
Ik received from President Washington the appointment of 
judge of the district court of the United States for Mary- 
land. This office he held until the year 1799, when he was 
summoned to another world, in the sixtieth year of his age. 

Mr. Paca was twice married. The first time to a daughter 
of Samuel Chew, in the year 1761, while he was pursuing 
the study of law. The second time in 1777, to a daughter 
of a respectable gentleman of Philadelphia, by the name of 

THOKiJ 8T0MS. « 851 

Harrison. By the former lady he had five childreoi one of 
whom only sunriveB. By the latter he had a son, who died 
shortly after his mother, whose decease occurred in 1780. 

Few men in America, as may be gathered from the prece* 
ding sketch, were ever more estimable in their character than 
Governor Paca. He possessed a mind of superior order, 
which was greatly improved by hb intercourse with man- 
kind, and his extensive acquaintance with books. 

In his address he was unusually graceful, and in his social 
powers was excelled by few. His attention to the young 
was not the least excellent trait in his character. He sought 
their company, and took a deep interest in their moral and 
intellectual improvement Even aAer he became governor 
of the state, he was in the habit of attending a club at Anna- 
polis, composed of young men and gentlemen of science. In 
this school, many were trained, who afterwards became 
highly distinguished both as statesmen and lawyers. It was 
here that that celebrated orator, William Pinkney, first at- 
tracted the attention of Judge Chase, an account of whose 
particularly kind conduct towards him, we have given in the 
life of that gentleman. We shall only add to this notice of 
Mr. Paca, that as he lived a life of distinguished usefulnesSt 
so he died regretted by all who knew how to estimate moral 
worth, intellectual elevation, and political integrity. 



\ Thomas Stonb was the son of David Stone, of Pointon 
Manor, Charles county, Maryland. His father was a de- 
scendant of William Stone, who was governor of Maryland 
during the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. The boyhood 
of Thomas Stone was distinguished by an unusual fondness 
for learning. At the age of fifteen, having acquired a !•• 
epectable knowledge of the English language, he oiiteiMi ^ 


the reluctant consent of his father to enter the school of a Mr, 
BUiizedel, a Scotchman, for the purpose of punning the 
Greek and Latin languages. This school was at the distance 
of ten miles from his father's residence ; yet, such was the 
zeal of young Stone, thaf he was in the habit of rising suffi- 
ciently early in the morning, to traverse this distance oo 
horseback, and enter the school at the usual time of its com- 

On leaving the school of Mr. Blaizedel, the subject of our 
memoir was anxious to prosecute the study of law. But* al- 
though his father was a gentleman of fortune, his sod was 
under the necessity of borrowing money to enable him to 
carry his laudable design into efiTect. He placed himself under 
the care of Thomas Johnson, a respectable lawyer of Anna- 
polis. Having finished his preparatory studies, he entered 
upon the practice of his profession in Fredericktown, Mary- 
land, where having resided two years, he removed to Charles 
<iounty, in the same state. 

During his residence in the former of these places, his 
business had enabled him to discharge the obligations under 
which he had laid himself for his education. At the age of 
twenty-eight, he married the daughter of Dr. Gustavus 
Brown, with whom he received the sum of one thousand 
pounds sterling. With this money, he purchased a farnit 
near the village of Port Tobacco, upon which he continued 
to reside during the revolutionary struggle. 

The business of Mr. Stone, during a considerable part of 
that period, was not lucrative ; and as the soil of the farm 
upon which he lived was poor, he found it difficult to obtain 
more than a competent livelihood. The expenses of his fa- 
mily were increased by the charge of four brothers, who were 
yet of tender years. The situation of many of our fathers, 
during those trying times, was similar to that of Mr. Stone. 
They had small patrimonies ; business was in a great mea- 
sure suspended ; and, added to this, their time and talents 
were imperiously demanded by their sulTcriug country. Yet, 
amidst all these difficulties aifd trials, a pure patriotism con- 
tinued to burn within their breasts, and enabled them most 

THOMAS 8T0MI • 858 

eheerfnlly to make any and every sacrifice to which they 
were called by the cause of freedom. Nor should it be for- 
gotten, that in these sacrifices the families of our fathers joy* 
fully participated. They received without a murmur ** the 
spoiling of their goods/' being elevated by the reflection, 
that this was necessary for the achievement of that indepen- 
dence to which they considered themselves and their posteri- 
ty as entitled. 

Although Mr. Stone was a gentleman of acknowledged ta- 
lents, and of inflexible and incorruptible integrity, it does not 
appear that he was brought forward into public life until 
some time in the year 1774. He was not a member of the 
illustrious congress of that year, but receiving an appoint- 
ment as a delegate in December, he took his seat in that body 
in the following May ; and, for several years afterwards, was 
annually re-elected to the same dignified station. 

In our biographical sketches of the other gentlemen who 
belonged about this time to the Maryland delegation, we have 
had frequent occasion to notice the loyalty and aflection 
which prevailed in that province, for several years, towards 
the king and the parent country ; and hence the reluctance 
of her citizens to sanction the declaration of independence. 
When, therefore, towards the close of the year 1775, such a 
measure began seriously to be discussed in the country, the 
people of Maryland became alarmed ; and, apprehensive lest 
their delegation in congress, which was composed generally 
of young men, should be disposed to favour the measure, the 
convention of that province attempted to restrain them by 
strict and specific instructions : 

*' We instruct you," said they, " that you do not, without 
the previous knowledge and approbation of the convention 
of this province, assent to any proposition to declare these 
colonies independent of the crown of Ghreat Britain, nor to 
any proposition for making or entering into an alliance with 
any foreign power ; nor to any union or confederation of 
these colonies, which may necessarily lead to a separation 
from the mother country, unless in your judginmli^ or In 
judgments of any four of you, or a rnqoittr 


joUf if all Bhall be then attending in congress, it sball bo 
thought absolutely necessary for the preserration of the liber- 
ties of the united colonies ; and should a majority of the colo- 
nies in congress, against such your judgment, resolve to de- 
clare these colonies independent of the crown of Great 
Britain, or to make or enter into alliance with any foreign 
power, or into any union or confederation of these colonies, 
which may necessarily lead to a separation from the mother 
country, then we instruct you immediately to call the conren- 
tien of this proyince, and repair thereto with such proposi- 
tion and resolve, and lay the same before the said convention 
for their consideration ; and this convention will not hold this 
province bound by such majority in congress, until the repre- 
sentative body of the province in convention assent thereto.'* 

The cautious policy observable in these instructions, arose, 
not so much from timidity on the part of the people of Ma- 
ryland, as from a sincere attachment to the royal government, 
and an equally sincere affection to the parent country. Soon 
after, however, the aspect of things in this province began to 
change. The affections of the people became gradually 
weaned from Great Britain. It was apparent that a reunion 
with that country, on constitutional principles, though infi- 
nitely desirable, was not to be expected. By the fifteenth 
of May, 1776, these sentiments had become so strong, that a 
resolution passed the convention, declaring the authority of 
the crown at an end, and the necessity that each colony 
should 'form a constitution of government for itself. 

In the latter part of June, the work of regeneration was 
accomplished. The people of Maryland generally expressed 
themselves, in county meetings, decidedly in favour of a de- 
claration of i^dependence. This expression of public senti- 
ment proved irresistible, and the convention proceeded to 
resolve : ^^ That the instructions given to their deputies be 
recalled, and the restrictions therein contained, removed; 
and that the deputies of said colony, or any three or more of 
them, be authorized and empowered to concur with the other 
united colonies, or a majority of them, in declaring the united 
colonies free and independent states ; in forming such te- 

THOKiJ 8T0irB« 866 

thcr compact and confederation between them ; in making 
foreign alliances; and in adopting such other measures as 
shall be adjudged necessary for securing the liberties of 
America; and that said colony will hold itself bound by the 
resolutions of the majority of the united colonies in the pre- 
mises ; provided the sole and exclusive right of regelating 
the internal government and police of that colony be reser- 
Ted to the people thereof." 

Being thus relieved from the trammels which had before 
bound them, Mr. Stone and his colleagues joyfully recorded 
their names in favour of a measure, which was connected with 
the imperishable glory of their country. 

Soon after the declaration of independence, congress ap- 
pointed a committee to prepare articles of confederation. 
To act on this committee, Mr. Stone was selected from tlie 
Maryland delegation. The duty devolving upon them was 
exceedingly arduous. Their report of the plan of a confede- 
ration was before the house for a long period, and was the • 
subject of debate thirty-nine times. Nor was it at lengUi 
agreed to, till the fifteenth day of November, 1777. Although 
the people of Maryland had consented to a declaration of in- 
dependence, after their first fervour had subsided, their for- 
mer jealousy returned ; and the Maryland convention pro- 
ceeded to limit the powers of their delegates, as to the forma- 
tion of the confederation. At the same time, not obscure- 
ly hinting in their resolution, that it might be still possible, 
and certainly desirable, to accommodate the unhappy diffe- 
rences with Great Britain. 

The above resolution was expressed in the following 
terms : *' That the delegates, or any three or more of them, 
be authorized and empowered to concur with the other 
United States, or a majority of them, in forming a confedera- 
tion, and in making foreign aUiances, provided that such 
confederation, when formed, be not binding upon this state* 
without the assent of the general aasemUy ; and the 
delegates, or any three or more of theaii an 
and empowered to concur in aay 
resolved on by eongreaa te 


Britain* and securing the liberties of the United States ; re 
serving always to this state, the sole and ezclosiTe right of 
regulating the internal police thereof. And the said dele- 
gates, or any three or more of them, are hereby authoriied 
and empowered, notwithstanding any measure heretofore 
taken, to concur with the congress, or a majority of them* in 
accommodating our unhappy difference with Great Britain, 
on such terms as the congress, or a majority of them, shall 
think proper." 

After seeing the confederation finally agreed upon in con- 
gress, Mr. Stone declined a re-appointment to that body, bnt 
became a member of the Maryland legislature, where he pow^ 
erfully contributed to meliorate the feelings of many, who 
were strongly opposed to the above plan of confederation. 
He had the pleasure, however, with other friends of that 
measure, to see it at length approved by the general assem- 
bly and the people generally. 

^ Under this conrederation, in 1783, he was again elected to 
a scat in congress. In the session of 1784 he acted for some 
time as president pro tempore. On the breaking up of con- 
gress this year, he finally retired from that body, and again 
engaged actively in the duties of his profession. His prac- 
tice now became lucrative in Annapolis, whither he had re- 
moved his residence ; and in professional reputation he rose 
to great distinction. As an advocate, he excelled in strength 
of argument. He was often employed in cases of great 
difficulty ; and by his brethren of the bar, it was thought emi- 
nently desirable, at such times, to have him for their colleague. 

In 1787, Mr. Stone was called to experience an affliction 
which caused a deep and abiding melancholy to settle upon 
his spirits. This was the death of Mrs. Stone, to whom he 
was justly and most tenderly attached. During a long state 
of weakness and decline, induced by injudicious treatment 
on the occasion of her having the small pox by inoculation, 
Mr. Stone watched over her with the most unwearied devo- 
tion. At length, however, she sank to the grave. From 
this time, the health of Mr. Stone evidently declined. In 
the autumn of the same year his physicians advised him to 


toake a sea voyage ; and in obedience to that advicei he re- 
paired to Alexandria, to embark for England. Before the 
Teasel was ready to sail, howerer, he suddenly expired, on 
the fiAh of October, 1787, in the forty-fifth year of his age. 

Mr. Stone was a professor of religion, and distinguished 
for a sincere and fenrent piety. To strangers, he had the 
appearance of austerity ; but among his intimate friends, he 
was afiable, cheerful, and familiar. In his disposition he was 
uncommonly amiable, and well disposed. In person, he was 
tall, but well proportioned. 

Mr. Stone left one son and two daughters. The son died 
In 1793, while pursuing the study of law. One of the daugh* 
ters, it is said, still lives, and is respectably married in fli4 
state of Virginia. 


Charles Carroll was a descendant of Daniel Carroll, an 
Irish gentleman, who emigrated from England to America 
about the year 1689. He settled in the province of Mary- 
land, where, a few years after, he received the appointment 
of judge, and register of the land office, and became agent 
for Lord Baltimore. 

Charles Carroll, the father of the subject of the present 
sketch, was bom in 1702. His son, Charles Carroll, sur- 
named of Carrollton, was bom September 8, 1737, O.S. at 
Annapolis, in the province of Maryland. 

At the age of eight years, he was sent to France for the 
purpose of obtaining an education.- He was placed at a col- 
lege of EInglish Jesuits, at St Omer's, where he remained for 
six years. Afterwards he staid some time at Rheims, whence 
he was removed to the college of Lewis le Grand. On 
leaving college, he entered upon the study of the civil law, at 
fionrges ; from which place he returned to F^ffisi where he 


remained till 1757, in which year he remoTed to London, anl 
commenced the study of law. He returned to America a 
1764, an accomplished scholar, and an accomplished ma» 
Although he had lived abroad, aiid might naturally be sop 
posed to have imbibed a predilection for the monarchical in- 
stitutions of Europe, he entered with great spirit into the 
controversy between the colonies and Great Britain, which, 
about )he time of his arrival, was beginning to assume a moil 
serious aspect 

A few years following the repeal of the stamp act, the 
violent excitement occasioned by that measure, in a degree 
subsided throughout all the colonies. In this calmer state of 
things the people of Maryland participated. But about the 
year 1771, great commotion was excited in that province^ ia 
consequence of the arbitrary conduct of Governor Eden and 
his council, touching the fees of the civil officers of the colo- 
nial government. These fees, as was noticed in the life of 
Mr. Paca, had become, in the estimation of the popular 
branch of the assembly, from the manner in which they were 
charged, exceedingly exorbitant. To correct the abuses 
growing out of the indefinite character of the law, a new law 
was framed ; and, afler being passed by the lower house, was 
sent to the upper house ibr their concurrence. This, how- 
ever, was refused ; and the assembly was prorogued, without 
coming to any agreement on the subject Shortly aAer, Go- 
vernor Eden issued his proclamation, the ostensible object of 
which was to prevent oppressions and extortions on the part 
of the officers, in exacting unreasonable and excessive fees. 
The proclamation was in reality, however, highly exception- 
able in the view of the people, as it affiscted to settle the 
point, which was the prerogative only of the people. The 
fees in question were considered in the light of a tax, the 
power to lay which the people justly claimed to themselves. 

The controversy which grew out of this arbitrary exercise 
of power on the part of Governor Eden, became exceedingly 
spirited. It involved the great principles of the revolution. 
Several writers of distinguished character enlisted them- 
selves on different sides of the question. Among these wri- 


ten, no one was more conspicuous thmn Mr« CarrolL The 
natural consequence of his firmness in defence of the rights 
of the people was, that great confidence was reposed in him 
on their part, and he was looked up to as one who was emi« 
nently qualified to lead in the great struggle which was ap* 
preaching between the colonies and the parent country. 

From what has been observed respecting Mr. Carroll, it 
may justly be inferred that his mind was made up at an early 
day, as to the course duty required him to take in respect to 
this coming storm. An anecdote is related of him, which 
will illustrate his influence with the people of Maryland. By 
a resolution of the delegates of Maryluid, on the fStd day of 
June, 1774, the importation of tea was prohibited. Some* 
time after, however, a vessel arrived at Annapolis, having a 
quantity of this article on board. This becoming known, 
the people assembled in great multitudes, to take effectual 
measures to prevent its being landed. At length the excite* 
ment became so high, that the personal safety of the captain 
of the vessel became endangered. In this state of things, the 
friends of the captain made application to Mr. Carroll, to in- 
terpose his influence with the people in his behalf. The pub- 
lic indignation was too great to be easily allayed. This Mr. 
Carroll perceived, and advised the captain and his friends, as 
the only probable means of safety to himself, to set fire to the 
vessel, and bum it to the water's edge. This alternative was 
indeed severe ; but, as it was obviously a measure of neces- 
sity, the vessel was drawn out, her sails were set, her colours 
unfurled, in which attitude the fire was applied to her, and, in 
the presence of an immense concourse of people, she was 
consumed. This atonement was deemed satisfactory, and 
the captain was no farther molested. 

In the early part of 1776, Mr. Carroll, whose distinguished . 
exertions in Maryland had become extensively known, was 
appointed by congress, in connexion with Dr. Franklin and 
Samuel Chase, on a commission to proceed to Canada, to per- 
suade the people of that province to relinquish their alle- 
giance to the crown of England, and unite with the AmeiUHUMI 
in their struggle for independence. 


In the discharge of their duties, the eomniBnonera 
jf ith unexpected difficulties. The defeat and death of Mon^ 
gomery, together with the compulsion which the American 
troops found it necessary to exercise, in obtaining the means ef 
support in that province, conspired to diminish the ardour of 
the Canadians in fiiTOur of a union with the coloniest and 
eyen, at length, to render them hostile to the measure. To 
conciliate their affections, and to bring to a favomable result 
tiie object of their mission, the commissioners employed theb 
utmost ingenuity and influence. They issued their proclama- 
tions, in which they assured the people of the diapoution of 
congress to remedy the temporary erils, which the inbahi- 
tants suffered in consequence of the presence of the American 
troops, so soon as it should be in their power to proride spe- 
cie, and clothing, and provisions. A strong tide, howevert 
was now setting against the American colonies, the strength 
of which was much increased by the roman catholic priests, 
who, as a body, had always been opposed to any connexidH 
with the united colonies. Despairing of accomplishing the 
wishes of congress, the commissioners at length abandoned 
the object, and returned to Philadelphia. 

The great subject of independence was, at this time, under- 
going a discussion in the hall of congress. It has been al- 
ready noticed, that the Maryland delegation, in that body, 
had been instructed by their convention to refuse their assent 
to a declaration of independence. On returning to Maryland, 
Mr. Carroll resumed his seat in the convention, and, with the 
advocates of a declaration of independence, urged the with* 
drawal of the above instructions, and the granting of power 
to their delegates to unite in such a declaration. The friends 
of the measure had at length the happiness, on the 28th of 
June, of procuring a new set of instructions, which secured 
the vote of the important province of Maryland in favour of 
the iddependence of America. 

On the same day on which the great question was decided 
in congress, in favour of a declaration of independence, Mr. 
Carroll was elected a delegate to that body from Maryland* 


and Bccordingly took hia leat on the eight««)th of the ume 

Although not a member of congress at the time the question 
of a declaration of independence was settled, Mr. Carroll had 
the honour of greatly contributing to a measure so auspicious 
to the interests of his country, by assisting in procuring the 
withdraval of the prohibiting instructions, and the adoption 
of a new set, by which the Maryland delegates found them 
selves authorized to vote for independence. He had the 
honour, also, of affixing his signature to the declaration on 
the second of August, at which time the members generally 
signed an engrossed copy, which had been prepared for that 
purpose. From the printed journals of congress, it would 
appear, that the declaration w«s signed on the fourth of July, 
the same day on which the final question was taken. This 
ia an error. The declaration, as first published, had only the 
name of Hancock affixed to it; and it was only on the nine- 
teenth of July, that a resolution was adopted, directing the 
declaration to be engrossed on parchment, with a view to a 
general signature on the part of the members. 

The truth of this statement may be inferred from the fol- 
lowing letter, addressed by Mr. Secretary Adams to Mr. Car- 
roll, on the twenty-fourth of June, 1834: 

•< Sir, 

" In pursuance of a joint resolution of the two houses of 
congress, a copy of which is hereto annexed, and by direction 
of the president of the United States, I have the honour of 
transmitting to you two fac simile copies of the original de- 
claration of independence, engrossed on parchment, confor- 
mably (o a secret resolution of congress of nineteenth July, 
17TS, to be signed by every member of congress, and accord- 
ingly signed on the second day of August of the same year. 
Of this document, unparalleled in the annals of mankind, the 
original, deposited in this department, exhibits your name as 
one of the subscribers. The rolls herewith transmitted, are 
copies as exact as the artof engraving can presMlt, of tiM inr 
strament itseli^ as well as of the gignen to iL 
3 A 31 


* While perfonning the duty thus assigned me, permit me 
to felicitate you, and the country, which is reaping the reward 
of your labours, as well that your hand was affixed to diis 
record of glory, as that, after the lapse of near half a century* 
you survive to receive this tribute of reverence and gratitude, 
from your children, the present fttthers of the land. 

<*With every sentiment of veneration, I have the ho- 
nour," d&c. 

A signature to the declaration, was an important step for 
every individual member of congress. It exposed the signers 
of it to the confiscation of their estates, and the loss of life, 
should the British arm^prove victorious. Few men had raoie 
at stake in respect to property than Mr. Carroll, he being eon- 
aidered the richest individual in the colonies. Bnt wealth 
was of secondary value in his estimation, in comparison with 
the rights and liberties of his country. When asked whether 
he would annex his name, he replied, *' most willingly," and 
seizing a pen, instantly subscribed *' to this record of glory.** 
^ There go a few millions," said some one who watched the 
pen as it traced the name of *' Charles Carroll, of Carrollton,** 
on the parchment. Millions would indeed have gone, for 
his fortune was princely, had not success crowned the Ame- 
rican arms, in the long fought contest. 

Mr. Carroll was continued a member of congress until 
1778, at which time he resigned his seat in that body, and 
devoted himself more particularly to the interests of his native 
state. He had served in her convention in 1776, in the lat- 
ter part of which year he had assisted in drafting her consti- 
tution. Soon after, the new constitution went into operation, 
and Mr. Carroll was chosen a member of the senate of Ma- 
ryland. In 1781 he was re-elected to the same station, and 
in 1788, on the adoption of the federal constitution, was 
chosen to the senate of the United States. 

In 1791 Mr. Carroll relinquished his seat in the national 
senate, and was again called to the senate of his native state. 
This office he continued to hold until 1804, at which time the 
democratic party was successful in electing their candidate, 
to the exclusion of this long tried and faithful patriot At 


this time, Mr. Carroll took leave of public life, and sought in 
retirement the quiet enjoyment of his family circle. 

Since the date of his retirement from public office, few in- 
cidents have occurred in the life of this worthy man, which 
demand particular notice. Like a peaceful stream, his days 
have glided along, and have continued to be lengthened out, 
while the generation of illustrious men, with whom he acted 
on the memorable fourth of July, 1776, have all descended to 
the tomb. 

At the age of nearly ninety-two years, he alone survives. 
*^ He seems an aged oak, standing alone on the plain, which 
time has spared a little longer, aAer^all its contemporaries 
have been levelled with the dust. Sole survivor of an assem 
bly of as great men as the world has witnessed, in a transact 
tion, one of the most important that history records; what 
thoughts, what reflections, must at times fill his soul ! If he 
dwell on the past, how touching its recollections ; if he sur 
vey the present, how happy, how joyous, how full of the frui- 
tion of hope, which his ardent patriotism indulged ; if he 
glance at the future, how must the prospect of his country's 
advancement almost bewilder his weakened conceptions. 
Fortunate, distinguished patriot! Interesting relic of the 

To few men has it been permitted to number so many 
years — to none, to have filled them up more honourably and 
usefully, than Charles Carroll. Happy in the recollection of 
the past — conscious of a life well spent, and possessing 

A peace above all earthl j liignitif 
A itill and quiet conacience^ 

He may well hope to pass the remaining hours of the even- 
ing of his life in tranquillity ; and may be assured, that when 
called to follow his illustrious predecessors to the grave, 
liberty, and intelligence, and patriotism, and affection, will 
weep at his departure, while they will rejoice that hb honour 
ia placed where no accident can reach it» and no stain can 
tarnish it 

.. -til 


George Wythe, 
Richard Henry Lee, 
Thomas Jefferson, 
Benjamin Harrison, 
Thomas Nelson, Jun. 
Francis Liohtfoot Lee, 
Carter Braxton. 


George Wythe was a native of the county of Elizabeth 
city, Virginia, where he was born in the year 1726. His 
father was a respectable farmer, in easy circumstances, and 
bestowed upon his son a competent patrimony. At a proper 
age he was placed at school ; but the knowledge which he 
here obtained was extremely limited and superficial, being 
confined to the English language, and the elementary rules 
of arithmetic. Fortunately for young Wythe, his mother 
was a woman of extensive knowledge for those times, and 
undertook to supply the defect of his scholastic education. 
By her assistance, the powers of his mind, which were ori- 
ginally strong and active, rapidly unfolded. He became ac- 
curately versed in the Latin and Greek languages, and made 
honourable attainments \i several of the solid sciences, and 
in polite literature. 

SBOaoB WTTHI. 305 

Before he became of a^ he had Ihe misforluae to lose 
his excellent mother, whou death vaa, not long efiler, follow- 
ed hy that of hia father. Being deprived, at this unguarded 
period of life, of the counsel and example of iheae natural 
guardiana, he became devoted, for several years, (o amuse- 
ment and dissipation, to irhich he was strongly enticed by the 
fortune that had been left him. Daring this period, his liters 
ry puramts were almost entirely neglected ; and there was 
the greatest reason to fear he would not escape that vortex 
into which so many young men remedilessly sink. At the 
age of thirty, the principles which bad been instilled into bla 
mind by his virtnous parents, asserted their proper influence 
over him. He abandoned his youthful follies, applied him- 
self with indefatigable induBtiy to study, and from this data, 
during a life which was protracted to the uncommon age of 
eighty years, he maintained a rigid and Inflexible integrity of 

Devoting himielf to the profession of law, he pnrsned his 
preparatory studies under the direction of Mr. John Lewis. 
The courts in Virginia, wfaere he was called to practice, were 
filled by gentlemen of digtinguished ability in their profet- 
eion. With these he soon held an equal rank, and eventual- 
ly, by his superior learning, greater industry, and more pow- 
erful eloquence, occupied the chief place at the bar. 

The estimation in which he was held by hia fellow-citizens, 
was early manifested in an appointment from his native coun- 
ty to a seat in the house of burgesses. This statiott he held 
for several yeara, even to the dawn of the revolution. In this 
assembly were found, from time to time, men of distinguisl^ 
ed genius and of greet attainments. Among these, Qeorga 
Wythe was conspicnous. In 1764, he asiisted In preparing 
a petition to the king, a memorial to the house of lords, and 
a remonstrance to the house of commons, on the subject of 
the stamp act, which was then occupying the deliberations of 
parliament Hie remonstrance to the house of commons 
was the production of his pen. The tone and language of 
this paper were both in spirit and style of too independent a 
chancter for the times, especially in the Mtinution of the 


more timid in the house of bargessesy who required, be>- 
fore it received their sanction, that its asperities should bt 

We have had frequent occasion, in the course of these 
biogmphical sketches, to allude to the friendly feelings of the 
Americans, at this time, to the parent country. Few, if any, 
were to be found whose views or wishes extended to a sepa^ 
ration from Great Britain. Hence, the language which was 
used by the colonies, in setting forth their rights, was gene> 
rally supplicatory in its style. Their remonstrances were 
mild and conciliatory. These, however, it was at length 
found, were in vain, and a loftier tone was adopted. 

The passage of the celebrated stamp act, in January, 1766^ 
diffused a spirit of discontent and opposition throughout all 
the American colonies, and was the signal for the commence- 
ment of those stronger measures which led on to the great 
revolutionary struggle. 

In measures of this kind, it is well known that Virginia 
took the lead. About this time, Patrick Henry, a young 
man, became a member of the house of burgesses. Aldiou^ 
a young man, he was possessed of a most powerful eloquence, 
and of an intrepidity of character which eminently fitted him 
to take the lead in the work of opposition. 

Towards the close of the session, in May, 1765, Mr. Henry 
presented to the house the following resolutions : 

" Resolved, That the first adventurers and settlers of this, 
his majesty's colony and dominion, brought with them, and 
transmitted to their posterity, and all other his majesty's sub- 
jects, since inhabiting in this, his majesty's said colony, all 
the privileges, franchises, and immunities, that have at any 
time been held, enjoyed, and possessed by the people of 
Great Britain. 

^' That by two royal charters granted by King James the 
First, the colonists aforesaid are declared entitled to all the 
privileges and immunities of denizens and natural bom sub- 
lects, to all intents and purposes, as if they had been abiding 
and born within the realm of England. 

** That the taxation of the people by themselves, or by per- 



sons chosen by ihemselTes to represent them, who can onlj 
know what taxes the people are able to bear, and the easiest 
mode of raising them, is the distinguishing characteristic of 
British freedom, and without which the ancient constitution 
cannot subsist. 

" That his majesty's liege people of this most ancient co- 
lony have, uninterruptedly, enjoyed the right of being thus 
governed by their own assembly in the article of their taxes 
and internal police ; and that the same hath never been for- 
feited, or any other way given up, but hath been constantly 
recognized by the king and people of Great Britain. 

" Resolved, therefore, that the general assembly of this co« 
lony have the sole right and power to lay taxes and imposi- 
tions upon the inhabitants of this colony : and that any at- 
tempt to vest such power in any person or persons what- 
soever, other than the general assembly aforesaid, has m 
manifest tendency to destroy British as well as American 


The language of these resolutions, so much stronger than 
the house had been accustomed to hear, at once caused no in- 
considerable alarm among many of its members. A power- 
ful opposition arose to their passage, and in this opposition 
were to be found some of the warmest friends of American 
independence. Among these was Mr. Wythe ; not that he, 
and many others, did not admit the justice of the sentiments 
contained in the resolutions ; but they remonstrated on the 
ground of their tending to involve the colony, at a time when 
it was unprepared, in open hostility with Great Britain. The 
eloquence of Henry, however, silenced, if it did not convince 
the opposition, and produced the adoption of the resolutions 
without any material alteration. As the fifth resolution was 
carried by a majority of only a single vote, the house, on the 
following day, in the absence of Henry, rescinded that re- 
solution, and directed it to be erased from the journals. 

The above resolutions spread rapidly through the Ameri- 
can colonies, and in every quarter of the country found men, 
who were ready to justify both their spirit and language. 
They served to rouse the energies of the American people. 


and were among the measures which poweifullj urged on 
the revolutionary contest The hold and decided measnrs 
thus adopted in the colony of Virginia, loudly called upon the 
patriots of other states to follow her in measures of a similsi 
character. This they were not backward in doing. AAar 
the temporary revival of the affection of the colonies, conse- 
quent upon the repeal of the stamp act, had ceased, their op- 
position became a principle, and in its operation was strong 
and lasting. In the history of the opposition of America to 
Great Britain, the colony of Virginia did themselves immor- 
tal honour. In this honour, as an individual, Mr. Wjrthe 
largely participates. For many years, during the approach 
of the great conflict, he held a seat in the house of burgesses; 
and by his learning, his boldness, his patriotic firmness, 
powerfully contributed to the ultimate liberty and indepen* 
dence of his country. 

In 1775, he was appointed a delegate from his native slate 
to the continental congress in Philadelphia ; and in the fol- 
lowing year, assisted in bringing forward and publishing to 
the world the immortal declaration of independence. During 
this latter year, Mr. Wythe was appointed, in connexion with 
Thomas Jefferson, Edward Pendleton, and several others, to 
revise the laws of the state of Virginia, and to accommodate 
them to the great change which had been effected in her 
transition from a colony to an independent state. In this im- 
portant work, only the three gentlemen mentioned were ac- 
tually engaged. The original commission included also the 
names of George Mason and Thomas Ludwell Lee ; the for- 
mer of whom deceased before the committee entered upon 
the duties assigned them ; and the latter tendered his resig- 
nation, leaving the arduous task to be accomplished by the 
gentlemen already named. 

*' The report of this committee was at lengtn made, and 
showed such an intimate knowledge of the great principles of 
legislation, as reflected the highest honour upon those who 
formed it. The people of Virginia are indebted to it for the 
best parts of their present code of laws. Among the changes 
then made in the monarchical system of jarisprudence, which 


had been previonilyinforce, the most importfliiitwere effected bj 
ihe act abolishing the right of primogeniture, and directing the 
real estate of persons dying intestate, to be equally divided 
among their childreb, or other Dearest relations ; by the act for 
regtdaling conreyaaces, which converted all estates in tail into 
fees simple, thus destroying one of the supports of the prond 
and oveibearing distincliona of pnrticnlar famUies ; and finally 
by the act for the establishment of religious freedom. Had 
all the proposed bills been adopted by the legialatnrc, other 
changes of great imporlance would have taken place. A wise 
and nnireraal system of education would have been establish- 
ed, giving to the children of the poorest citizen the oppor- 
tunity of attaining science, and thus of rising to honour and 
extensive usefulness. The proportion between crimes and 
punishments would have been better adjusted, and malefactors 
would have been jnaile to promote the interests of the com- 
monwealth by their labour. But the public spirit of the as- 
fl jmbly could not keep pace with the liberal views of Wythe." 

In the year 1T77, Mr. Wythe was elected speaker of the 
house of delegates, and during the same year was appointed 
iudge of the high court of chancery of Virginia. On the new 
organization of the court of equity, in a subsequent year, be 
was appointed sole chancellor, a station which he filled, with 
great ability, for more than twenty years. 

During the rerolution, Mr. Wythe suffered greatly in re- 
spect to bis properly. His devotion to public services left 
him little opportunity to attend to his private aflairs. The 
greater part of bis slaves he lost by the dishonesty of his su- 
perintendant, who placed them in the hands of the British. 
By economy and judicious management, however, Mr. Wythe 
was enabled, with the residue of his estate, and with his sala- 
ry as chancellor, to discharge his debts, and to preserve his 

Of the convention of 17S7, appointed to revise the federal 
constitution, Mr. Wythe was a delegate from Virginia, having 
for his colleagues Washington, Henry, Randolph, Blair, Ma- 
dison, and Hasan. "During the debates, he acted for the 
most part as chairman. Being convinced that the confede- 
3 B 


ration was defective in the energy necessary to preserve the 
union and liberty of America, this Tenerable patrioti then be- 
ginning to bow under the weight of yearst rose ia the con- 
vention, and exerted his voice, almost too feeble to be heard, 
in contending for a system, on the acceptance of which he 
conceived the happiness of his country to depend. He was 
ever attached to the constitution, on account of the principles 
of freedom and justice which it contained; and in every 
change of affairs he was steady in supporting the rights of 
man. His political opinions were always firmly republican. 
Though in 1798 and 1799, he was opposed to the measures 
which were adopted in the administration of President Adami^ 
and reprobated the alien and sedition laws, and the raising of 
the army, yet he never yielded a moment to the rancour of 
party spirit, nor permitted the difference of opinion to inter- 
fere with his private friendships. He presided twice succes- 
sively in the college of electors in Virginia, and twice voted 
for a president whose political principles coincided with his 

'* After a short, but very excruciating sickness, he died, 
June 8, 1806, in the eighty-first year of his age. It was sup- 
posed that he was poisoned ; but the person suspected was 
acquitted by a jury of his countrymen. By his last will and 
testament, he bequeathed his valuable library and philosophi- 
cal apparatus to his friend, Mr. Jefferson, and distributed the 
remainder of his little property among the grandchildren of 
his sister, and the slaves whom he had set free. He thus 
wished to liberate the blacks, not only from slavery, but from 
the temptations to vice. He even condescended to impart 
to them instruction ; and he personally taught the Greek lan- 
guage to a little negro boy, who died a few days before his 

*' Chancellor Wythe was indeed an extraordinary man. 
With all his great qualities, he possessed a soul replete with 
benevolence, and his private life is full of anecdotes, which 
prove, that it is seldom that a kinder and warmer heart throbbed 
in the breast of a human being. He was of a social and affec 
tionate disposition. From the time when he was emand 


pated from the folBn of youth, he snsUined an unspotted re- 
putation. Hia integritir was never eren snspected. 

" While he practised at the bar, whea ofiers of an extraor- 
dinary) but veil merited compensation, were made to him by 
clients, whose causes he had gained, he would say, that the 
labourer was indeed worthy of bis hire; but the lawful fee 
was all he had a right to demand ; and ss to presents, be did 
not want, and would not accept them from any man. This 
grandeur of mind, he uniformly preserved to the end of his 
life. His manner of tiring was plain and abstemious. He 
found the means of suppressing the desires of wealth by limit- 
ing the number of his wants. An ardent deaire to promote 
the happiness of his fellow men, by supporting the cause of 
iuatice, and maintaining and establishing their rights, appears 
to have been his ruling passion. 

" As a judge, he wsa remarkable for his rigid impartiality, 
and sincere attachment to the principles of equity; for his vast 
and various learning ; and for his strict and unwearied atten- 
tion to bueiness. Superior to popular prejudices, and every 
corrupting influence, nothing could inilace him to swerve from 
truth and right. In hia decisions, he seemed to be a pure in- 
lelligence, untouched by human passions, and settling the dis- 
putes of men, according to the dictates of eternal and immu- 
table justice. Other judges have surpassed him in genius, and 
a certain facility in despatching causes ; but while the rigour 
of his faculties remained unimpaired, he waa seldom surpassed 
in learning, indnatry, and judgment. 

" From a man, entrusted with such high concerns, and 
whose time was occupied by so many difficult and perplexing 
avocations, it could scarcely have been expected, thalheshould 
have employed a partof it in the toilsome and generally unplea- 
sant task of the education of youth. Yet, even to this, he was 
prompted by his genuine patriotism and philanthropy, which 
induced him for many years to take great delight in educating 
such young persons as showed an inclination for improve- 
ment Harassed as he was with business, and enveloped 
with papers belonging to intiieate nnti in iiTmiimij. ba jwii 
finmd time to keeps prinia whooltetf 


few scholars, always with very little compensatioDv and of 
ten demanding none. Several living ornaments of their coun- 
try received their greatest lights from his sublime example and 
instruction. Such was the upright and venerable Wythe." 


Richard Henrt Lee, a descendant from an ancient and 
distinguished family in Virginia, was born in Westmoreland 
county, of that province, on the twentieth of January, 1732L 
As the schools of the country for many years furnished hot 
few advantages for an education, those who were able to meet 
the expense, were accustomed to send their sons abroad for 
instruction. At a proper age, young Lee was sent to a flou- 
rishing school, then existing at Wakcsfield, in the county ol 
Yorkshire, England. The talents which he possessed, indus- 
triously employed under the guidance of respectable tutors, 
rendered his literary acquisitions easy and rapid ; and in a few 
years he returned to his native country, with a mind well 
stored with scientific and classical knowledge. 

For several years following his return to America, he con- 
tinued his studies with persevering industry, greatly adding to 
the stock of knowledge which he had gained abroad, by 
which he was still more eminently fitted for the conspicuous 
part he was destined to act in the approaching revolutionary 
struggle of his country. 

About the year 1757, Mr. Lee was called to a seat in the 
house of burgesses. For several years, however, he made 
but an indifferent figure, cither as an orator or the leader of a 
party, owing, it is said, to a natural diffidence, which prevent- 
ed him from displaying those powers with which he was 
gifted, or exercising that influence to which he was entitled. 
This impediment, however, was gradually removed, when 
he rapidly rose into notice, and became conspicuous as a poll 


tical leader in his coimtry, and highly distinguished for a na- 
tural, easy, and at the same time impressive eloquence. 

In the year 1765, Patrick Henry proposed the celebrated 
resolutions against the stamp act, noticed in the preceding 
sketch of the life of Mr. Wythe. During the debate on these 
resolutions, Mr. Lee arrived at the seat of government, soon 
after which he entered with great spirit into the debate, and 
powerfully assisted in carrying these resolutions through the 
house, in opposition to the timidity of some, and the mis- 
taken judgment of others. 

The above strong and spirited resolutions served, as has 
already been noticed in a former page, to rouse the energies 
of the Americans, and to concentrate that feeling, which was 
spending itself without obtaining any important object. Not 
long after the above resolutions were carried, Mr. Lee pre- 
sented to his fellow citizens the plan of an association, the 
object of which was an effectual resistance to the arbitrary 
power of the mother country, which was manifesting itself 
in various odious forms; and especially in that detestable 
measure, the stamp act The third article of the constitu- 
tion of this association will show the patriotic and determined 
spirit which prevailed in the county of Westmoreland, the 
people of which generally united in the association. " As the 
stamp act docs absolutely direct the property of people to be 
taken from them, without their consent, expressed by their 
representatives, and as in many cases it deprives the British 
American subject of his right to be tried by jury, we do deter- 
mine, at every hazard, and paying no regard to death, to 
exert every faculty to prevent the execution of the stamp act, 
in every instance, within the colony." 

The influence of this association, and of other associations 
of a similar kind, rendered the execution of the stamp act dif- 
ficult, and even impossible. It was a measure to which the 
Americans would not submit; and the ministry of Great Bri- 
tain were reluctantly forced to repeal it. To Mr. Lee, as 
well as to his countrymen, the removal of the stamp act was 
an occasion of no small joy ; but the clause accompanying the 
repealing act, which declared the power of parliament to bind 



Ae colonies in all cases whatever^ was a dark doud, which m 
a measure obscured the brightness of the prospect, and fore- 
boded an approaching storm. 

In the year 1773, Mr. Lee brought forward in the Virginia 
house of burgesses his celebrated plan for the formation of a 
committee of correspondence, whose object was to dissemi 
nate information, and to kindle the flame of Ubertj, through- 
out the continent ; or, in other language, ** to watch the con- 
duct of the British parliament, to spread more widely correct 
information on topics connected with the interests of the co- 
lonies, and to form a closer union of the men of infloence in 
each.*' The honour of having first established corresponding 
societies is claimed both by Massachusetts and Virginia ; the 
former placing the merit to the account of her distingoished 
patriot, Samuel Adams ; and the latter assigning it to Richard 
Henry Lee. It is probable, however, that each of these dis- 
tinguished men are entitled to equal honour, in respect to ori- 
ginating a plan which contributed, more than most others, to a 
unity of sentiment and harmony of action among the different 
leaders in the respective colonies, \yithout concert between 
them, each of these individuals seems to have introduced the 
plan, about the same period, to the legislatures of their re- 
spective colonies. It is certain, however, that in respect to 
Mr. Lee, the plan of these corresponding societies was not 
the result of a few days reflection only. It had occupied his 
thoughts for several years ; had been there forming and ma 
turing, and, at length, was proposed and adopted, to the infi- 
nite advantage of the cause of liberty in the country. 

Of the distinguished congress which met at Philadelphia in 

1T74, Mr. Lee was a delegate from Virginia, with Washington 

nd Henry. In the deliberations of this celebrated body, 

. Lee acted a conspicuous part, and served on several com- 

ittces ; and to his pen is attributed the memorial, which the 
continental congress authorized, to the people of British Ame- 
rica. In the following year, Mr. Lee received the unanimous 
suffrage of the district in which he resided to the assembly of 
Virginia, by which he was deputed to represent the colony 
in the second congress, which was to meet on the tenth of 


May of thai year. At the same time, he received an expres* 
sion of the thanks of the assembly, *' for his cheerful under- 
taking, and faithful discharge of the trust reposed in him, 
during the session of the last congress.'* 

On the meeting of this second congress, it was apparent 
that all hope of peace and reconciliation with the mother 
country was at an end. Indeed, hostilities had actually com- 
menced ; the busy note of preparation was heard in all the 
land. Washington was summoned b3uthe unanimous voice 
of congress to the command of the American armies ; and 
his commission and instructions it fell to Mr. Lee to furnish, 
as the chairman of a committee appointed for that purpose. 
During the same session, also; he was placed on committees 
which were appointed to the important duties of preparing 
munitions of war, encouraging the manufacture of saltpetre 
and arms, and for devising a plan for the more rapid commu- 
nication of intelligence throughout the colonies. 

The period had now) arrived, when the thoughts of the 
American people were turned, in solemn earnest, to the great 
subject of American independence. Most of the colonies 
were already prepared to hail with joy a measure which 
should declare to the world their determination to be ac- 
counted a free and independent people. Most of the provin- 
cial assemblies had published resolutions in favour of such a 
declaration, and had even instructed their delegates to urge 
upon congress the importance and necessity of this decisive step. 

Mr. Lee was selected to move the resolution in congress 
on this great subject This he did on the seventh of June, 
1776, in the following words : *' That these united colonies 
are, and of right ought to* be, free and independent states; 
that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British 
crown ; and that all political connexion between them and the 
state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved." 

The motion, thus introduced by Mr. Lee, he followed by 
one of the most luminous and eloquent speeches ever deli 
vered, either by himself or any other gentleman, on the floor 
of congress. "Why then, sir,*' (said he, in conclusion,) 
** why do we longer delay ? Why still deliberate ? Let thi^ 


happy daj give birth to an American republic. Let her ariact 
not to deFastate and to conquer, but to re-eatabliah the reign 
of peace and of law. The eyes ^f Europe are fixed upon ua ; 
she demands of us a living example of freedom, that may ex- 
hibit a contrast in the felicity 6( the citizen to the ever in- 
creasing tyranny which desolates her polluted shores. Sht 
invites us to prepare an asylum, where the unhappy may find 
solace, and the persecuted repose. She entreats us to culti- 
vate a propitious soiWwhere that generous plant which first 
sprung and grew in England, but is now withered by the 
poisonous blasts of Scottish tyranny, may revive and flourish, 
sheltering under its salubrious and interminable shade, all 
the unfortunate of the human race. If we are not this day 
wanting in our duty, the name^ of the American legislators 
of 1776 will be placed by posterity at the side of Theseus, 
Lycurgus, and Romulus, of the three Williams of Nassau, 
and of all those whose memory has been, and ever will be, 
dear to virtuous men and good citizens." 

The debate on the above motion of Mr. Lee was protracted 
until the tenth of June, on which day congress resolved : 
*' that the consideration of the resolution respecting indepen- 
dence be postponed till the first Monday in July next; and, in 
the mean while, that no time be lost, in case the congress 
agree thereto, that a committee be appointed to prepare a 
declaration to the effect of the said resolution.** 

On the day on which this resolution was taken, Mr. Lee 
was unexpectedly summoned to attend upon his family in 
Virginia, some of the members of which were at that time 
dangerously ill. As the mover of the original resolution for 
independence, it would, accordiilg to parliamentary usage, 
have devolved upon Mr. Lee to have been appointed chair- 
man of the committee selected to prepare a declaration, and, 
as chairman, to have furnished that important document In 
the absence of Mr. Lee, however, Mr. Jefferson was elected 
to that honour, by whom it was drawn up with singular en 
ergy of style and argument. 

In the following month, Mr. Lee resumed his seat in con- 
gress, in which body he continued till June, 1777, during 


which period he continued the same round of active exertions 
for the welfare of his country. It was his fortune, however, 
as well as the fortune of others, to have enemies, who charged 
him with disaffection to his country, and attachment to Great 
Britain. The ground upon which this charge was made, was, 
that contrary to his former practice, previously to the war, 
he received the rents of his tenants in the produce of their 
farms, instead of colonial money, which had now become 
greatly depreciated. This accusation, though altogether un* 
just, and unwarrantable, at length gained so much credit, that 
the name of Mr. Lee was omitted by the assembly, in their 
list of delegates to congress. This gave him an opportunity, 
and furnished him with a motive, to demand of the assembly 
an inquiry into the nature of the allegations against him. 
The inquiry resulted in an entire acquittal, and in an expres- 
sion of thanks to Mr. Lee, which was conveyed, on the pari 
of the house, by their speaker, Mr. W3Lthe, in the following 
language : — " It is with peculiar pleasure, sir, that I obey this 
command of the house, because it gives me an opportunity, 
while I am performing an act of duty to them, to perform an 
act of justice to yourself. Serving with you in congress, and 
attentively observing your conduct there, I thought that yoa 
manifested, in the American cause, a zeal truly patriotic ; and 
as far as I could judge, exerted the abilities for which you are 
confessedly distinguished, to promote the good and prosperity 
of your own country in particular, and of the United States 
in general. That the tribute of praise deserved, may reward 
those who do well, and encourage others to foUow your ex- 
ample, the house have come to this resolution : that the thanks 
of this house be given by the speaker to Richard Henry Lee, 
for the faithful services he has rendered his country, in dis- 
charge of his duty, as one of the delegates from this state in 
general congress.'' 

At a subsequent period, Mr. Lee was again elected a dele- 
gate to congress; but during the session of 1778 and ITTO^ 
in consequence of ill health, he was obliged frequently to ab- 
sent himself from the arduous duties which devolved upon 
him, and which he could no longer sustain. Fi^om this 
3C 38* 


until 17849 Mr. Lee declined accepting a seat in eongreaa, 
from a belief that he might be more useful to his natiFc statCy 
by holding a seat in her assembly. In this latter year^ how 
ever, the people of Virginia again honoured him, by appoint- 
ing him one of her representatives to congress, of which body 
he was unanimously elected president In this exalted sta- 
tion he presided with great ability ; and on the expiration of 
his time of service, he received the thanks of congress for his 
able and faithful discharge of the duties of president, while 
acting in that station.*' 

To the adoption of the federal constitution without amend- 
ment, although not a member of the convention which dis* 
cussed its merits, he was strongly opposed. The tendency 
of the constitution, he apprehended, was to consolidation. To 
guard against this, it was his wish that the respective states 
should impart to the federal head only so much power as 
was necessary for mutual safety and happiness. Under the 
new constitution, Mr. Lee was appointed the first senator from 
Virginia ; in the exercise of which office, he offered several 
amendments to the constitution, from the adoption of which 
he hoped to lessen the danger to the country, which he had 

About the year 1792, Mr. Lee, enfeebled by his long at- 
tention to public duties, and by the infirmities of age, retired 
to the enjoyment of his family and friends. Not long after, 
he had the pleasure of receiving from the senate and house 
of delegates of Virginia, the following unanimous vote of 
thanks : " Resolved, unanimously, that the speaker be de- 
sired to convey to Richard Henry Lee, the respects of the 
senate ; that they sincerely sympathise with him in those in- 
firmities, which have deprived their country of his valuable 
services ; and that they ardently wish he may, in his retire- 
ment, with uninterrupted happiness, close the evening of a 
life, in which he hath so conspicuously shone forth as a states- 
man and a patriot ; that while mindful of his many exertions 
to promote the public interests, they are particularly thankful 
for his conduct as a member of the legislature of the United 


Tbe life of Mr. Lee was continued until the nineteenth of 
June, 1704, when he breathed his last, at the age of sixty- 
three years. 

Few men, in any age or in any country, have shone with 
greater brilliancy, or have left a more desirable name, than 
Richard Henry Lee. Both in public and private life, he had 
few equals. In his public career, he was distingubhed for 
no common ardour and disinterestedness. As an orator, he 
exercised an uncommon sway over the minds of men. His 
manners were perfectly graceful, and his language universally 
chaste. *' Although somewhat monotonous, his speeches,** 
says a writer, '* were always pleasing, yet he did not ravish 
your senses, nor carry away your judgment by storm. His 
was the mediate class of eloquence, described by RoUin in 
his belles lettres. He was like a beautiful river, meandering 
through a flowery mead, but which never overflowed its banks. 
It was Henry who was the mountain torrent, that swept away 
every thing before it ; it was he alone, who thundered and 
lightened ; he alone attained that sublime species of eloquence, 
also mentioned by Rollin.** 

In private life, Mr. Lee was justly the delight of all who 
knew him. He had a numerous family of children, the off- 
spring of two marriages, who were eminently devoted to their 
father, who in his turn delighted to administer to their inno- 
cent enjoyments, and to witness the expansion of their intel- 
lectual powers. 

We conclude this hasty sketch, with the following account 
of Mr. Lee, from the flowing pen of the author of the life of 
Patrick Henry. — "Mr. Lee,*' says he, "had studied the 
classics in the true spirit of criticism. His taste had that de- 
licate touch, which seized with intuitive certainty every 
beauty of an author, and his genius that native affinity, which 
combined them without an effort. Into every walk of litera- 
ture and science, he had carried his mind of exquisite selec- 
tion, and brought it back to the business of life, crowned with 
every light of learning, and decked with every wreath that 
all the muses and all the graces could entwine. Nor did 
these light decorations constitute the whole value of its 


freight He possessed a rich store of political knowledge, 
with an activity of observation, and a certainty of judgment, 
which turned that knowledge to the very best account. He 
was not a lawyer by profession, but he understood thoroughly 
the constitution both of the mother country and of her colo- 
nies, and tlie elements, also, of the civil and municipal laW. 
Thus, while his eloquence was free from those stiff and tech- 
nical restraints, which the habit of forensic speaking are to 
apt to generate, he had all the legal learning which is neces- 
sary to a statesman. He reasoned well, and declaimed freely 
and splendidly. The note of his voice was deep and mdo- 
dious. It was the canorous voice of Cicero. He had losi 
the use of one of his hands, which he kept constantly corerad 
with a black silk bandage, neatly fitted to the palm of lui 
hand, but leaving his thumb free ; yet, notwithstanding this 
disadvantage, his gesture was so graceful and highly finished, 
that it was said he had acquired it by practising before a mir- 
ror. Such was his promptitude, that he required no prepa- 
ration for debate. He was ready for any subject, as soon as 
it was announced, and his speech was so copious, so rich, so 
mellifluous, set off with such bewitching cadence of voice, 
arid such captivating grace of action, that while you listened 
to him, you desired to hear nothing superior ; and, indeed* 
thought him perfect He had quick sensibility and a ferrid 


Thomas Jefferson was born on the second day of April, 
O. S. 1743, at a place called Shad well, in the county of Al- 
bermarle, and state of Virginia, a short distance from Mon- 
tioello. His family were among the earliest emigrants from 
England. They sustained an honourable standing in the 
territory in which they resided, and lived in circumstances of 


coQsiderable affluence. His father, Peter Jefferson, was 
much known in the province, as a gentleman of considerable 
scientific attainments, and more than ordinary firmness and 
integrity. It was probably in consequence of these qualifica- 
tiona, that he was selected as one of the commissioners ap- 
pointed to the delicate and responsible task of determining 
the division line between Virginia and North Carolina. On 
the decease of the father, the son inherited irom him an ex- 
tensive and valuable estate. 

Of the early incidents in the life of Thomas Jefferson, but 
little is known. He was entered, while yet a youth, a stu- 
dent in the college of William and Mary, in Williamsburg ; 
but the precise standing which he occapied among his litera- 
ry associates, is probably now lost. He doubtless, however, 
left the college with no inconsiderable reputation. He ap- 
pears to have been imbued with an early love of letters and 
science, and to have cherished a strong disposition to the 
physical sciences especially ; and to ancient classical litera- 
ture, he is understood to have had a warm attachment, and 
never to have lost sight of them, in the midst of the busiest 

On leaving college, he applied himself to the study of the 
low under the tuition of George Wythe, of whose high judi- 
cial character we have had occasion to speak in a preceding 
memoir. In the office of this distinguished man, he acquired 
that unrivalled neatness, system, and method in business, 
which through all his future life, and in every office that he 
6lled, gave him so much power and despatch. Under the 
direction of his distinguished preceptor, he became intimately 
acquainted with the whole round of the civil and common 
law. From the same distinguished example he caught that 
untiring spirit of investigation, which never lefl a subject til) 
he bad searched it to the very foundation. In short, Mr. 
Wyihe performed for him, as one of his eulogists remarks, 
what Jeremiah Gridley did for his great rival, Mr. Adams; 
he placed on his head the crown of legal preparation, and 
well did it become him. 

For his able legol preceptor, Mr- Jefhnoa always enler> 


tained the greatest respect and friendship. Indeed, the at« 
tachment of preceptor and pupil was mutual, and for a long 
series of years continued to acquire strength and stability. 
At the close of his life, in 1806, it was found that Mr. Wythe 
had bequeathed his library and philosophical apparatus to 
his pupil, as a testimony of the estimation in which he was 
held by his early preceptor and aged friend. 

Mr. Jefferson was called to the bar in the year 1766. 
With the advantages which he had enjoyed with respect to 
legal preparation, it might naturally be expected that he 
would appear with distinguished credit in the practice of his 
profession. The standing which he occupied at the bar, may 
be gathered from the following account, the production of 
the biographer of Patrick Henry : " It has been thought that 
Mr. Jefferson made no figure at the bar ; but the case was far 
otherwise. There are still extant, in his own fair and neat 
hand, in the manner of his master, a number of arguments, 
which were delivered by him at the bar, upon some of the 
most intricate questions of the law ; which, if they shall ever 
see the light, will vindicate his claim to the first honours of 
the profession. It is true, he was not distinguished in popular 
debate ; why he was not so, has often been matter of surprise 
to those who have seen his eloquence on paper, and heard it 
in conversation. He had all the attributes of the mind, and 
the heart, and the soul, which are essential to eloquence of 
tlie highest order. The only defect was a physical one : he 
wanted volume and compass of voice, for a large deliberative 
assembly ; and his voice, from the excess of his sensibility, 
instead of rising with his feelings and conceptions, sunk under 
their pressure, and became guttural and inarticulate. The 
consciousness of this infirmity, repressed any attempt in a 
large body, in which he knew he must fail. But his voice 
was all sufficient for the purposes of judicial debate ; and 
there is no reason to doubt that, if the service of his country 
had not called him away so soon from his profession, his 
fame as a lawyer would now have stood upon the same dis- 
tinguished ground, which he confessedly occupied as a states- 
man, an author, and a scholar."' 

JsrraK>oif. S83 

The year previons to Mr. Jefienon'g admiBsion to the bar, 
Mr. Henry introduced into the Virginia houie of burgessest 
then sitting at Willianiabnrg, his celebrated reaolntiona 
against the stamp act. Mr. JeSerBon was, at this time, pre- 
sent at the debate. " He was then," he says, " bnt a student, 
and stood in the door of commnnica^on, between the house 
and the lobby, where he heard the whole of this magnificent 
debate. The opposition to the last resolution was most ve- 
hement ; the debate upon it, to use his own strong language, 
'most bloody;' but," he adds, "torrents of sublime eloquencfl 
&oro Henry, backed by the solid reasoning of Johnson, pre- 
vailed ; and the resolution was carried by a single vote. I 
well remember," he continues, " the cry of ' treason,' by tha 
speaker, echoed from every part of die house, against Mr. 
Henry : I well remember his pause, and the admirable ad- 
dress wiih which he recovered himself, and baffled the charge 
thus vociferated." 

He here alludes to that memorable exclamation of Mr. 
Henry, now become almost too familiar for quotation ; 
" Cffisar had his Bnitns, Charles the First his Cromwell, and 
George the Third (' treason !' cried the speaker ; ' treason ! 
treason !' echoed the house ;] may profit by tiieir example. 
If this be treason, make the most of it" 

The talents of Mr. Jefferson, which were early well known, 
permitted him not long to remain in a private station, or to 
pursue the ordinary routine of his profession. A career of 
more extensive usefulness, and objects of greater importance, 
were now presented to him. His country demanded his ser- 
vices ; and at the early age of twenty-five, (hat is, in the 
year 1769, he entered the house of burgesses in Virginia, and 
then first inscribed his name as a champion of his country*! 

At a former period, the attachment of the American colo- 
nies to England was like that of an affectionate child towards 
a venerable parent. In Virginia, this attachment was unusu- 
ally strong. Various circumstances combined to render it 
BO. Many of the fomilies of that province were allied to dii- 
tiBgoished families in England, and the aona of the formor 


wmght (heir education in the uaivenities of the mother coun- 
try. It was not BiDKUlu, therefore, that a strong aflection 
ahould exist, on the part of this colony, for the people in 
England, nor that the people of the colonies generally should 
have come to the sevennce of these ties with peculiar relnc- 
(anee. Resistance, however, was at length forced npon them, 
by the rash course pursued by the British ministry. The rights 
of the colonies were invaded ; their choicest privileges were 
taken away, and loudly were the patriots of America called 
upon, by the sufferings of the country, to awake to a strong and 
effectual resistance. At this time, Mr. Jefferson commenced 
his political career, and has himself given us, in few words, 
an outline of the reasons which powerfully impelled him to 
enter the lists, with other American patriots, against the pa- 
rent country. 

" The colonies," says he, " were taxed intemsUy and ex- 
ternally ; their essential interests sacrificed to individuals in 
Creat Britain ; their legislatures suspended ; charters an- 
nulled ; trials by jurors taken away ; their persons subjected 
to transporlalion across the Atlantic, and to trial by foreign 
judicatories ; their supplications for redress thought beneath 
answer, themselves published aa cowards in the councils of 
their mother country, and courts of Europe ; armed troops 
senramongst them, to enforce submission to these violences ; 
and actual hostilities commenced against them. No allerna- 
tive was presented, but resistance or unconditional submis- 
sion. Between these there could be no hesitation. They 
closed in the appeal to arms." 

In the year 1T73, Mr. Jefferson became a member of the 
first committee of correspondence, established by the pro- 
vincial assemblies. We have already noticed the claim 
which Virginia and Massachusetts have respectively urged, 
to the honour of having first suggested thi^ important mea- 
sure in the revolution. Both, probably, in respect to this, 
are entitled to equal credit ; but to whomsoever the honour 
belongs, that honour is, indeed, great, since this measure^ 
more than most others, contributed to that union of action 
and sentiment, which characterized the proceedings of lb* 


sereral colonies, and which was the foundation of their final 
triumph oyer an ancient and powerful kingdom. 

In 1T74, Mr. Jefferson published a '* Summary View of 
the Rights of British America,*' a valuable production among 
those intended to show the dangers which tlireatened the 
liberties of the country, and to encourage the people in their 
defence. This pamphlet was addressed to the king, whom, 
in language respectful but bold, it reminded that America 
was settled by British freemen, whose rights had been vio- 
lated ; upon whom the hand of tyranny was thus heavily 
]3dng, and from the sufferings which they were experiencing, 
they must be, and they would be, free. 

The bold and independent language of this pamphlet gave 
great umbrage to Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of the 
province. Mr. Jefferson, on avowing himself the author of 
the pamphlet, was threatened with a prosecution for high 
treason by the governor ; a threat, which he probably would 
have carried into effect, could he have hoped that the vindic- 
tive measure would succeed. 

In the following year, 1775, Mr. Jefferson was selected by 
the Virginia legislature to answer Lord North's famous 
** Conciliatory proposition," called, in the language of the 
day, his '* Olive branch ;" but it was an olive branch that 
concealed a serpent ; or, as the former President Adams ob- 
served, ** it was an asp, in a basket of flowers." The task 
assigned him, was performed by Mr. Jefferson in a manner 
the most happy and satisfactory. The reply was cool and 
calm and close — marked with uncommon energy and keen 
sagacity. The document may be found in most of the his- 
tories of that period, and is manifestly one of the most ner- 
vous and manly productions of that day. It concluded with 
the following strong and independent language : 

" These, my lord, are our sentiments, on this important 
subject, which we offer only as an individual part of the 
whole empire. Final determination we leave to the general 
congress, now sitting, before whom we shall lay the papers 
your lordship has communicated to us. For ourselves, we 
bare exhausted every mode of application^ which our inven- 
3D 33 


tion could suggest, as proper and promising. We have de- 
cently remonstrated with parliament — ^they have added new 
injuries to the old ; we have wearied our king with supplica- 
tions — he has not deigned to answer us ; we have appealed 
to the native honour and justice of the British nation — their 
efforts in our favour have hitherto been ineffectual. What 
then remains to be done ? That we commit our injuries to 
the even handed justice of that Being, who doth no wrong, 
earnestly beseeching Him to illuminate the councils, and 
prosper the endeavours of those to whom America hath con- 
fided her hopes ; that through their wise directions, we may 
again see reunited the blessings of liberty, prosperity, and 
harmony with Great Britain." 

In the month of June, 1775, Mr. Jefferson appeared and 
took his scat in the continental congress, as a delegate from 
Virginia. In this enlightened assembly, he soon became 
conspicuous among the most distinguished for their abilities 
and patriotism. He was appointed on various important 
committees, towards the discharge of whose duties he con- 
tributed his full share. The cause of liberty lay near his 
heart, nor did he hesitate to incur all necessary hazard in 
maintaining and defending it. 

Antecedently to the year 1776, a dissolution of the union 
with Great Britain had not been contemplated, either by con- 
gress, or the nation. During the spring of tliat year, how- 
ever, the question of independence became one of deep and 
solemn reflection, among the American people. It was per- 
ceived by many in all parts of the land, that the hope of re- 
conciliation with the parent country was at an end. It Was, 
indeed, an unequal contest, in which the colonies were en- 
gaged. It was a measure of unexampled boldness, which 
they were contemplating — a step which, should it not receive 
the smiles of a propitious Providence, would evidently in- 
volve them and their posterity in calamities, the full measure 
and duration of which no political prophet could foretel. 
But, then, it was a measure rendered necessary, by the op- 
pression which they were suffering. The *' shadows, clouds, 
and darkness," which rested on the future, did not deter them. 


The IsD^age which they adopted, and th« feeimp which 
they indulged, were the langua^ and feelings of the patriotic 
Hawley, who said, " We must put to sea — Providence will 
bring us into port." 

It was fortunate for the cause of America, and for the cause 
of freedom, that there was a class of men at that day, who ' 
were adequate to the high and mighty enterprise of sunder- 
ing tlie ties which bound the colonies. For this they were 
'doubtless specially raised up by the God of heaven ; for Ibis 
they were prepared by the lofty energies of their minds, and 
by thaX boldness and intrepidity of character, which, perhaps, 
sever so signally marked another generation of men. 

The measure thus determined upon was, at length, brought 
forward in the continental congress. We have already 
noticed in several preceding sketches, the debate on this 
subject, and the important part which various individuals 
took in urging it forward. It belongs to this place to notice, 
particularly, the important services which Mr. Jefferson ren- 
dered in relation to it. A resolution had been presented by 
Richard Henry Lee to declare America free and independent. 
The debate upon this resolution was continued from the 
seventh to the tenth of June, when the further consideration 
of it was postponed until the first of July, and at the same 
time a committee of five was appointed to prepare provi- 
sionally a draught of a declaration of independence. At 
the head of this committee was placed Thomas Jeficrson. 
He was at this time but thirty-two years of age, and was 
probably the youngest member of the committee, and one 
of the youngest men in the house, for he had only served 
part of the former session. 

Mr. Jefferson being chairman of this committee, the im- 
portant duty of preparing the draught of the document was 
assigned to him. It was a task of no ordinary magnitude, 
and demanded the exercise of no common judgment and fore- 
sight By the act itself, a nation was to stand or fall. P{ay, 
in its effects, it was to exercise a powerful influence upon 
other nations on the globe, and might extend forward to the 
end of time. 


To frame a document, whieh should precisely meet the exi 
gencies o/* the case — ^which should set forth the causes of com* 
plaint, according to truth — which should abide the scrutinj 
of enemies at home and abroad — ^which should stand the test 
of time, especially of a day which would come, when the high 
- wrought excitement, then existing, would hare subsided— 
thds was no ordinary task. Indeed, there were few minds, 
even at that day, which would hare felt adequate to the un 

From his study, Mr. Jefferson at length presented to his 
colleagues the original draught. A few changes only in the 
document were suggested by two of them. Dr. Franklin and 
Mr. Adams. The whole merit of the paper was Mr. Jeflfer- 
son's. On being reported to congress, it underwent a few 
other slight alterations ; none of which, however, altered the 
tone, the frame, the arrangement, or the general character of 
the instrument 

^* It has sometimes been said," observes an eloquent writer, 
''as if it were a derogation from the merits of this paper, that 
it contains nothing new ; that it only states grounds of pro- 
ceeding, and presses topics of argument, which had often been 
stated and pressed before. But it was not the object of the 
declaration to produce any thing new. It was not to invent 
reasons for independence, but to state those which governed 
the congress. For great and sufficient reasons it was pro- 
posed to declare independence ; and the proper business ot 
the paper to be drawn, was, to set forth those causes, and 
justify the authors of the measure, in any event of fortune, to 
Uic country and to posterity. The cause of American inde- 
pendence, moreover, was now to be presented to the world 
in such a manner, if it might so be, as to engage its sympa- 
thy, to command its respect, to attract its admiration ; and in 
an assembly of most able and distinguished men, Thomas Jef- 
ferson had the high honour of being the selected advocate of 
this cause. To say that he performed his great work well, 
would be doing him injustice. To say that he did excellently 
well, admirably well, would be inadequate and halting praise. 
Let us rather say, that he so discharged the duty assigned 


him, that all Americane may well rejoice that the work of 
drawing the little deed of their liberties devolved on his 

In 1778. Mr. Jefferson was appointed by congreu, in con- 
junction with Dr. Franklin andSilasDeane.a commisiioner to 
France, for the purpose of forming a treaty of alliance and 
commerce with that nation. In consequence, however, of ill 
health, and impressed with the conviction that he could b« 
ofgrcaler service to his country, and especially to his state, by 
continuing at home, he decHned accepting the office, and Ar- 
thur Lee was appointed in his place. 

Between 1777 and 1776, Mr. Jefferson was employed, con- 
jointly with George Wythe and Edmund Pendleton, on a com 
mission for revising the laws of Virginia. This was an ar 
duouB service, requiring no less tlian one hundred and twenty- 
six bills, which were drown by these gentlemen, and which for 
simplicity and perspicuity have seldom been excelled. In 
respect to Mr. Jeffenon. it should be noticed, that, besides 
the laborious share which he took in revising the laws of the 
state, to him belongs the honour of having first proposed the 
important laws in the Virginia code, forbidding the importa- 
tion of slaves ; converting estatcB tail into fees simple ; annul- 
ling t)ie rights of primogeniture ; establishing schools for ge- 
neral education, and confirming the rights of freedom in re- 
ligious opinion, with several others. 

In 1779, Patrick Henry, who was the first republican go- 
vernor, under the renovated constitution, and the successor 
of the earl of Dunmore, having served his appointed term, 
retired from that office, upon which Mr. Jefibrson was chosen 
10 succeed him. To this office he was re-elected the follow- 
ing year, and continued in office until June, 17B1. 

The administration of Mr. Jefferson, as governor of Virgi- 
nia, during the above term, was arduous and difficult. The 
revolutionary atmggle was progressing, and the southern 
states were particularly the theatre of hostile operations. At 
three several times, during his magistracy, the state of Virgi- 
nia was invaded by the enemy ; the first time in the spring of 
1790, by the ferocious General Tsrlton,«hoae military move- 


menu were characterized by unusual barbarity, and who 4raa 
followed in hit invasion, by the main army, under Lord Com* 


While the eyes of aU were directed to these military move- 
ments in the south, the state experienced a still more unex- 
pected and disastrous attack, from a body of troops, under 
the guidance of the infamous Arnold, whom treachery had 
rendered more daring and more vindictive. 

In respect to preparations for hostilities within her own 
limits, the state of Virginia was sadly deficient ; nor had the 
habits and pursuits of Mr. Jefferson been of a kind which fitted 
him for military enterprise. Aware, however, of the neces- 
sity of energy and exertion, in this season of danger and ge- 
neral distress, he applied his mind, with alacrity Ad ardour, 
to meet the exigencies of the case. Scarcely had Arnold left 
the coast, when Cornwallis entered the state, on its southern 
border. At this time, the condition of Virginia was extreme- 
ly distressing ; she was wholly unprepared ; her troops were 
fighting in remote parts of the country ; she had few military 
stores ; and, to add to her distress, her finances were exhaust- 
ed. On the approach of Arnold in January, the general as- 
sembly had hastily adjourned, to meet again at Charlottesville, 
on the twenty-fourth of May. 

In the mean time, a most anxious part devolved upon the 
governor. He had few resources, and was obliged to depend, 
in a great measure, upon his personal influence to obtain the 
munitions of war, and to raise and set in motion troops from 
different parts of the state. The various expedients which he 
adopted were indicative of much sagacity, and were attended 
by success highly important to the common cause. 

On the twenty-fourth of May, the legislature was to meet 
at Charlottesville. They were not formed for business, how- 
eves, until the twenty-eighth. A few days following which, 
the term for which Mr. Jefferson had been elected expired, 
when he again found himself a private citizen. 

On leaving the chair of state, Mr. Jefferson retired to Mon- 
ticello, when intelligence was received, two dajns after, that a 
body of troops under con>mand of General Tarlton were ra* 


pidly hasteDing lo CharlottesTille, for the purpose of surpri- 
sing and capturing the members of the assembly. They had 
only time, after the alarm was given, to adjoura to meet at 
Staunton, and to disperse, before the enemy entered the vil- 
lage. Another party had directed their course to Mnnticello 
to capture the ex-governor. Fortunately, an express hasten- 
ed from Charlotte syil I e, to convey intelligence to Mr. Jefier- 
son of their approach. Scarcely bad the family time to make 
arrangements, indispensable for their departure, and to effect 
their escape, before the enemy were seen ascending the hill, 
leading lo the mansion-house. Mr. Jefferson himself, mount- 
ing his horse, narrowly escaped, by taking a course through 
the woods. This flight of Mr. Jefferson, eminently proper, 
and upon which his safety depended, has unwarrantably ex- 
cited in tiroes gone by the ridicule and censure of his enemies. 

Agreeably to their appointment, the legislature assembled at 
Staunton on (he seventh, soon after which, at the instigation 
of Mr. George Nicholas, an inquiry was moved into the con- 
duct of Mr. Jefferson in respect to remissness in the discharge 
ofhisduty,atthelime of Arnold's invasion. The ensuing session 
of the legislature was fixed upon for the inTeatigation of the 
charges. At the arrival of theappoinled time, Mr. Nicholas had 
become convinced that the charges were witliout foundation, 
and this impression having generally obtained, no one ap- 
peared to bring forward the investigation. Upon this, Mr. 
Jeflerson, who had been returned a member of the assembly, 
Tose in his place, and entered into a justification of his con- 
duct His statement was calm, lucid, and convincing. On 
concluding it, the house tmanimously adopted the following 
resolution : 

" Resolved, That the sincere thanks of the general assem- 
bly be given to our former governor, Thomas Jefferson, for 
bis impartial, upright, and attentive administnition, whilst in 
office. The assembly wish, in the strongest manner, to de- 
clare the high opinion they entertain of Mr. Jefferson's abili- 
ty, rectitude, and integrity, as chief magistrate of this com- 
moDwealth ; and mean, by thus publicly avowing their o|d 
nion, to obriata and to ren^ova all nnmerited ceoanra." 


To this it may be added, that Mr. Nicholas, some time af 
ter, did Mr. JefTerson the justice to acknowledge, in a public, 
manner, the erroneous views which he had entertained, and 
to express his regret that more correct information had not 
been obtained, before the accusation had been brought forward. 

In the year 1781, Mr. Jefferson composed his *' Notes on 
Virginia," a work which grew out of a number of questions, 
proposed to him by M. De Marbois, the secretary of the 
French legation in the United States. It embraced a general 
view of the geography of Virginia, its natural productions, 
statistics, government, history, and laws. In 1787, Mr. Jef- 
ferson published the work, under his own signature. It at- 
tracted much attention in Europe, as well as in America ; dis- 
pelled many misconceptions respecting this continent, and 
gave its author a place among men distinguished for science. 
It is still admired, and will long be admired, for the happy 
simplicity of its style, and for the extent and variety of its 

In 1782, Mr. Jefferson received the appointment of minis- 
ter plenipotentiary, to join commissioners already in Europe, 
to settle the conditions of peace between the United States 
and Great Britain. Before his embarkation, however, intel- 
ligence was received, that the preliminaries of peace had been 
signed. The necessity of his mission being removed, congress 
dispensed with his leaving America. 

In November, 1783, he again took his seat in the conti- 
nental congress ; but in May following was appointed minis- 
ter plenipotentiary to act abroad in the negotiations of com- 
mercial treaties, in conjunction with Dr. Franklin and Mr. 
Adams. In the month of July, Mr. Jefferson sailed for France, 
and joined the other commissioners at Paris, in August 

Although ample powers had been imparted to the commis- 
sioners, they were not as successful in forming commercial 
treaties as had been expected. It was of great importance to 
the United States to effect a treaty of this kind with Great 
Britain, and for this purpose Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Adams 
proceeded to London. In this important object they failed, 
owing, probably, to the hostile feelings which the ministry 


indulged towards America, and to the wounded pride which 
■till rankled in their breaata ; and, moreorer, to a selfish po- 
licy which tbef had adopted in respect to their navigation 
system, by which they intended to increase their own navi- 
gation at the expense of other nations, and especially of the 
United States. The only treaties which the commissionera 
were at this time able to negotiate, were with Morocco and 

In 17S6, Mr. Jefferson was appointed to succeed Doctor 
Franklin as minister plenipotentiary to the court of Versailles. 
The duties of this station he continued to perform until Octo- 
ber, 17S9, when he obtained leave to retire, just on the eve ot 
that tremendous revolution which has so much agitated the 
world in our times. 

The discharge of Mr. Jefferson's diplomatic duties while 
abroad, " was marked by great ability, diligence, and patriot- 
ism ; and while he resided at Paris, in one of the most inte- 
resting periods, his character for intelligence, fais love of 
knowledge, and of the society of learned men, distinguished 
him in the highest circles of the French capital. No court 
in Europe had, at that time, in Paris, a representative com- 
manding or enjoying higher regard, for political knowledge, 
or for general attainment, than the minister of this then infant 

During his residence in France, Mr. Jefferson fonnd leisure 
to visit both Holland and Italy. In both conntries he was 
received with the respect and attention due to his official sla- 
tioD,aH the minister of a rising republic, and as a man of learn- 
ing and science. 

In the year 1789, be returned to bis tutire country. His 
talents and experience recommended him to President 'Wash- 
ington for the first oSice in fais giA. He was accordingly 
placed at llie head of the department of state, and immediately 
entered on the arduous duties of that important station. 

Soon after Mr. Jefferson entered on the duties of this office, 
congress directed him to prepare and report a plan for esta- 
blishing a uniform system of currency, weights, and measures. 
This was followed, at a. subsequent day, by reports on the 


subject of tonnage duties payable by France, and on the sub- 
ject of the cod and whale fisheries. Each of these reports 
displayed the usual accuracy, information, and intelligence of 
the writer. 

Towards the close of the year 1791, the relation of the 
United States to several countries abroad became embmrrass- 
ing, and gave occasion to Mr. Jefferson to exercise those ta- 
lents of a diplomatic character, with which he was pre-emi- 
nently endowed. " His correspondence with the ministers of 
other powers residing here, and his instructions to our own di- 
plomatic agents abroad, are among our ablest state papers. A 
thorough knowledge of the laws and usages of nations, perfect 
acquaintance with the immediate subject before him, great fe- 
licity, and still greater facility, in writing, show themselresin 
whatever effort his official situation called on him to make. It 
is believed, by competent judges, that the diplomatic inter- 
course of the government of the United States, from the first 
meeting of the continental congress in 1774 to the present time, 
taken together, would not suffer, in respect to the talent with 
which it has been conducted, by comparison with any thing 
which other and older states can produce ; and to the attainment 
of this respectability and distinction, Mr. Jefferson has con- 
tributed his full part." 

On the sixteenth of December, 1793, Mr. Jefiferson com- 
municated his last official report to congress, on the nature 
and extent of the privileges and restrictions on the commerce 
of the United States in foreign countries, and the measures 
which he deemed important to be adopted by the United 
States, for the improvement of their commerce and navigation. 

This report, which has ever been considered as one of pri- 
mary importance, gave rise to a long and interesting discus- 
sion in the national legislature. In regard to the measures 
recommended in the report, a wide difference prevailed in 
congress, among the two great parties, into which that body 
had become obviously and permanently divided. Indeed, it 
may be said to have been this report, which finally separated 
the statesmen of the country into two great political parties, 
which have existed almost to the present time. 


On the thirty-first of December, 1793» Mr. Jefferson ten- 
dered his resignation as secretary of state, and again retired 
to private life. The interval which elapsed between his re- 
signation of the above office, and his being summoned again 
to the councils of the nation, he employed in a manner most 
delightful to himself, viz. in the education of his family, the 
management of his estate, and the pursuit of philosophical 
studies, to the latter of which, though long neglected, in his 
devotion to higher duties, he returned with renewed ardour. 

The attachment of a large proportion of his fellow-citizens, 
which Mr. Jefferson carried with him into his seclusion, did 
not allow him long to enjoy the pleiisures of a private life, to 
which he appears to have been sincerely devoted. General 
Washington had for some time determined upon a relinquish- 
ment of the presidential chair, and in his farewell address, in 
the month of September, 1796, announced that intention. 
This distinguished man, having thus withdrawn himself, the 
two political parties brought forward their respective candi- 
dates, Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson. On counting the votes 
in February, 1797, in the presence of both houses of con- 
gress, it was found that Mr. Adams was elected president, he 
having the highest number of votes, and Mr. Jefferson vice 
president, upon which respective offices they entered on the 
following fourth of March. 

In the life of Mr. Adams, we had occasion to allude to the 
unsettled state of the country, and the general dissatisfaction 
with his administration, which prevailed. During this pe- 
riod, however, Mr. Jefferson resided chiefly at Monticello, 
pursuing the peaceful and noiseless occupations of private 
life. The time, at length, approached for a new election of 
president. Mr. Jefferson was again proposed by the republi- 
can party as a candidate for that office. The candidate of 
the federal party was Mr. Burr. 

On the eleventh of February, 1801, the votes were counted 
in the presence of both houses of congress, and the result 
declared by the vice president to be, for Thomas Jefferson 
seventy-three ; for Aaron Burr seventy-three ; John Adams 
sixty -five ; C. C. Pinckhey sixty-four; and John Jay one. 


S06 YisemiA dblxoatioii. 

The vice president then, in pursuance of the doty enjoined 
upon him, declared that Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, 
having an equal number of votes, it remained for the house 
of representatives to determine the choice. Upon this, the 
two houses separated, ** and the house of representatiyes re- 
turned to their chamber, where seats had been previously 
prepared for the members of the senate. A call of the mem- 
bers of the house, arranged according to states, was then 
made; upon which it appeared that every member was pre- 
sent, except General Sumpter, who was unwell, and unable 
to attend. Mr. Nicholson, of Maryland, was also unwell, b«i 
attended, and had a bed prepared for him in one of the com- 
mittee rooms, to which place the ballot box was carried to 
him, by the tellers, appointed on the part of the state. 

'^ The first ballot was eight states for Mr. Jefferson, six 
for Mr. Burr, and two divided ; which result continued to be 
the same after balloting thirty-five times." 

Thus stood affairs, after a long and even distressing con- 
test, when a member of the house, (General Smith,) commu- 
nicated to the house the following extract of a letter from 
Mr. Burr : ''It is highly improbable that I shall have an 
equal number of votes with Mr. Jefferson : but if such should 
be the result, every man who knows mc, ought to know, 
Uiat I would utterly disclaim all competition. Be assured 
that the federal party can entertain no wish for such an 

** As to my friends, they would dishonour my views, and 
insult my feelings, by a suspicion that I would submit to be 
instrumental in counteracting the wishes and expectations of 
the United States ; and I now constitute you my proxy to 
declare these sentiments, if the occasion shall require." 

This avowal of the wishes of Mr. Burr, induced two fede 
ral members to withdraw ; in consequence of which, on the 
thirty-sixth balloting, Mr. Jefferson was elected president. 
Colonel Burr, by the provision of the constitution, became, 
of course, vice president. 

On the fourth of March, 1801, Mr. Jefferson, agreeable to 
the constitution, took the oath of office, in the presence of 

moHAt nnrtsiMow. 907 

both bouses of congress, on which occasion he delivered his 
Tnaugural address. 

In this address, after expressing his difSdence in his powers 
satisfactorily to discharge the duties of the high and respon- 
«ible office assigned him, he proceeded to state the principles 
oy which his administration would be governed. These 
were, *' Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state 
or persuasion, religious or political: peace, commerce, and 
honest friendship with aU nations, entangling alliances with 
none : the support of the state governments in all their rights, 
as the most competent administration for our domestic con- 
cerns, and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican ten- 
lencies : the preservation of the general government in iti 
whole constitutional vigour, as the sheet anchor of our peace 
%t home, and safety abroad : a jealous care of the right of 
election by the people, a mild and safe corrective of abuses 
which are lopped by the sword of revolution, where peacea- 
ble remedies are unprovided : absolute acquiescence in the 
decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, 
from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and 
immediate parent of despotisms : a well disciplined militia, 
our best reliance in peace, and for the first moments of war, 
till regulars may relieve them : the supremacy of the civil 
over the military authority: economy in the public ex- 
pense, that labour may be lightly burthened: the honest 
payment of our debts, and sacred preservation of the public 
faith : encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its 
hand-maid : the diffusion of information, and arraignment of 
all abuses at the bar of public reason : freedom of religion : 
freedom of the press : and freedom of person, under the pro- 
tection of the habeas corpus : and trial by juries impartially 
selected. — These principles," added Mr. Jefferson, *' should 
be the creed of our political faith ; and should we wander 
from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to 
**etrace our steps, and to regain the road which alone leads 
to peace, liberty, and safety.*' 

To enter into a minute detail of the administration of 
BIr Jefferson, would neither comport with the duties of u 



biographer, nor with the limits which must necessariljr be 
prescribed to the present sketch. At a future day, more dis- 
tant by far than the present, when the remembrance of poli- 
tical asperities shall have passed away, can exact jiutice be 
done to Mr. Jefferson and his administration. That he was 
a distinguished man, distinguished as a statesman, none can 
deny. But as the measures of his administration were called 
in question, in respect to their policy, and as the day of ex- 
citement has scarcely passed by, it is deemed more judicious 
to leave the subject to the research and deliberation of the 
future historian, than, in this place, to attempt to settle ques- 
tions, about which there was, while he lived, and still may 
exist, an honest difference of opinion. 

On the meeting of congress in December, 1801, Mr. Jef- 
ferson, varying from the practice of the former presidents, 
communicated a message to congress, instead of delivering 
a speech in person. Tlie change in this respect thus intro- 
duced was obviously so popular and acceptable, that it has 
been adopted on every subsequent similar occasion. 

The principal acts which characterized the first term of 
Mr. Jefferson's career, were, a removal from responsible and 
lucrative offices of a great portion of those whose political 
opinions were opposed to his own ; the abolition of the inter- 
nal taxes ; a reorganization of the judiciary ; an extension of 
the laws relative to naturalization ; the purchase of Louisi- 
ana, and the establishment of commercial and friendly rela- 
tions with various western tribes of Indians. 

On the occurrence of a new presidential election, in 1805» 
the administration of Mr. Jefferson had been so acceptable, 
that he was re-elected by a majority, not of eight votes, as in 
the former instance, but by one hundred and forty-eight In 
spired with new zeal by this additional proof of confidence 
which his fellow-citizens had given him, he took occasion, in 
his second inaugural address, to assert his determination to 
abide by those principles upon which he had administered 
the government, and the approbation of which, on the part 
of the people, he read in their re-election of him to the same 
exalted station, in concluding his inaugural address, he took 


occasion to observe : <'I do not fear that any motives of in- 
terest may lead me astray ; I am sensible of no passion which 
could seduce me knowingly from the path of justice ; but the 
weaknesses of human nature, and the limits of my own un- 
derstanding, will produce errors of judgment sometimes inju- 
rious to your interests ; I shall need, therefore, all the indul- 
gence I have heretofore experienced; the want of it will 
certainly not lessen with increasing years. I shall need, toot 
the favour of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our 
forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land, and 
planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries 
and comforts of life ; who has covered our infancy with his 
providence, and our riper years with his wisdom and power." 

On the second election of Mr. Jefferson to the presidency, 
the vice presidency was transferred from Mr. Burr to George 
Clinton, of New- York. A merited odium had settled upon 
Mr. Burr in consequence of his unprincipled duel with Gene- 
ral Hamilton, in which the latter gentleman had fallen a vic- 
tim to murderous revenge. From this time, Mr. Burr sunk, 
as it was thought, into final obscurity ; but his future conduct 
showed, that, while unobserved by his fellow citizens, he had 
been achieving a project, which, but for the sagacity and ef- 
fective measures of Mr. Jefferson, might have led even to a 
dissolution of the union. 

In the autumn of 1806, the movements of Mr. Burr first at- 
tracted the notice of government. He had purchased and 
was building boats on the Ohio, and engaging men to descend 
that river. His declared purpose was to form a settlement 
on the banks of the Washita, in Louisiana ; but the character 
of the man, the nature of his preparations, and the incautious 
disclosures of his associates, led to the suspicion that his true 
object was either to gain possession of New-Orleans, and to 
erect into a separate government the country watered by the 
Mississippi and its branches, or to invade, from the territories 
of the United States, the rich Spanish province of Mexico. 

From the first moment of suspicion, he was closely watch- 
ed by the agents of the government. At Natchez, while on 
his way to New-Orleans, he was cited to appear before the 


sapreme court of the Mississippi Territoij. But he had ao 
enveloped his projects in secrecy, that sufficient eridenee to 
convict him could not be produced* and he was discharged. 
Hearing, however, that several persons, suspected of being 
his accomplices, had been arrested at New-Orleans aud else 
where, he fled in disguise from Natchez, was apprehended on 
the Tombigbee, and conveyed a prisoner to Richmond. Two 
indictments were found against him, one charging liim with 
treason against the United States, the other with prepering 
and commencing an expedition against the dominions of Spain. 

In August, 1807, he was tried upon those indictments be* 
fore John Marshall, the chief justice of the United Stales. 
Full evidence of his guilt not being exhibited, he was acquit- 
ted by the jury. The people, however, believed him guilty ; 
and by their desertion and contempt he was reduced to a 
condition of the most abject wretchedness. The ease with 
which his plans were defeated, demonstrated the strength of 
the government ; and his fate will ever be an impressive 
warning to those who, in a free country, listen to the sugges- 
tions of criminal ambition. 

While these domestic troubles were, in a measure, agitating 
the country, questions of still greater importance were en- 
gaging the attention of the government in respect to our fo- 
reign relations. War was at this time waging between 
England and France. America, taking advantage of the bel- 
ligerent state of these kingdoms, was advantageously em- 
ploying herself, as a neutral power, in carrying from port U> 
port the productions of France and her dependent kingdoms, 
and also to the ports of those kingdoms the manufactures of 

Great Britain, at this time, and indeed from the peace of 
1783, had claimed a right to search for and seize her seamen, 
even on board of neutral vessels while traversing the ocean. 
In the exercise of this pretended right, many unlawfol seizures 
were made, against which Washington, Adams, and Jeffer- 
son, had successively remonstrated in vain. Added to this, 
the Americans were molested in the carrying trade, their ves- 
sels being seized by British cruisers while transporting to the 


eonlinent the products of the French eoloniea, and coodemn- 
ed by the EagliBh courts as lawful prizes. In May, 1806, 
were issued the British orders iu eounci], by which lereral 
European ports, under the control of France, were declared 
to be in & state of blockade, although not invested with a Bri- 
tish fleet, and American vessels, in attemptiug to enter those 
ports, were captured and condemned. 

As a measure retaliatory to the above orders in council, the 
French emperor issued a decree at Berlin, in 1806, declaring 
Uie British islands in a state of blockade. In conseqneDce of 
these measures of the two belligerents, the commerce of (he 
United States severely suffered, and their merchants were 
oud in their demands on the government for redress and 

In June, 1807, an act was committed which raised the in 
dignation of the whole American people, and concentrated 
upon the British government the whole weight of popular iu 
digoation. This was an attack upon the frigate Chesapeake, 
just as she was leaving her port, for a distant service, by 
order of a British admiral, in consequence of which Uiree of 
her men were killed, and four taken away. This outrage 
occasioned an immediate proclamation on the part of Mr. 
Jefferson, requiring all British armed vessels immediately to 
depart from (he waters of the United States, and forbidding 
all such to enter. Instmcliona were forwarded to the Ame- 
rican minister at the court of Great Britain, to demand satis- 
faction for the insult, and security against future aggression. 
Congress was summoned to meet, and to decide upon the 
further measures which should be adopted. 

In the mean time, the British government promptly disa- 
vowed the act of the officer, by whom the above outrage had 
been committed, and offered reparation for the injuries done, 
which some time after was carried into efiecL 

From this time, the conduct of the belligerents was such, 
in respect to each other, as to bear oppressively upon the 
American nation, leaving the government of the latter no 
other alternative, but abject submission, or decided relalia- 
tion. In respect to the latter course, two meafuies only 
3F 34* 


could be adopted, a declaration of war, or a fiupeiiiioii of the 
commerce of the United States. The latter alternative was 
adopted, and on the twenty-second of December, 1807, an 
act passed both houses of congress, laying a general embargo. 

In respect to the policy of the embargo, the most promi- 
nent feature in the administration of Mr. Jefierson, different 
opinions prevailed among the American people. By the ad- 
ministration, it was acknowledged to be only an experiment; 
which, while it showed the spirit of the nation, and operated 
with no inconsiderable severity upon the interests of the bel- 
ligerents, left the way open to negociations, or, if neeeasary 
to actual war. 

Before the result of that system of measures which had 
been recommended by Mr. Jefferson was fully known, the 
period arrived when a new election to the presidency was to 
take place. As Mr. Jefferson had reached the age of sixty- 
five years, forty of which had almost uninterruptedly been 
devoted to the arduous duties of public life, he was desirous, 
at the close of his then presidential term, of ending his poli- 
tical career. 

Having formed this determination, he alluded to it in a 
message to congress, in the following language : ^ Availing 
myself of this, the last occasion which will occur of address- 
ing the two houses of the legislature at their meeting, I can- 
not omit the expression of my sincere gratitude for the re- 
peated proofs of confidence manifested to me by themselves, 
and their predecessors, since my call to the administration, 
and the many indulgences experienced at their hands. The 
same grateful acknowledgments are due to my fellow-citizens 
generally, whose support has been my great encouragement, 
under all embarrassments. In the transactions of their busi- 
ness, I cannot have escaped error. It is incident to our im- 
perfect nature. But I may say with truth, my errors have 
been of the understanding, not of intention ; and ^at the ad- 
vancement of their rights and interests has been the constant 
motive of every measure. On these considerations, I solicit 
their indulgence. Looking forward with anxiety to their 
future destinies, I trust, that in their steady character, im- 

noMAi jxrFBSfow. 4Ktt 

'haken by diffieulties, in their lore of liberty* obedie&ce to 
law, and support of public authorities, I see a sure guarantee 
of the permanence of our republic ; and retiring from th« 
charge of their a&irs, I carry with me the consolation of a 
firm persuasion, that hearen has in store for our belored 
country, long ages to come of prosperity and happiness." 

From the time of his retirement from public life, in 1807, 
Mr. Jefferson resided at Monticello, and lived as became a 
wbe man. ^ Surrounded by affectionate friends, his ardour 
in the pursuit of knowledge undiminished, with uncommon 
health, and unbroken spirits, he was able to enjoy largely 
the rational pleasures of life, and to partake in that publie 
prosperity, which he had so much contributed to produce. 
His kindness and hospitality, the charm of his conversation, 
the ease of his manners, the extent of his acquirements, and 
especially the full store of revolutionary incidents which he 
possessed, and which he knew when and how to dispense, 
rendered his abode, in a high degree, attractive to his ad- 
miring countrymen, while his high public and scientific 
character drew towards him every intelligent and educated 
traveller from abroad." 

Although Mr. Jefferson had withdrawn from public life, he 
was still anxious to promote the objects of science, taste, and 
literature ; and especially solicitous to see established a unl* 
▼ersity in his native state. To this object he devoted several 
vears of incessant and anxious attention, and by the enlight* 
ene(^ liberality of the legislature of Virginia, and the co-ope- 
ration of other able and zealous friends, he lived to see it ac- 
complished. Of this institution, of which he was the father, 
he was elected the rector, and, during the declining years of 
his life, devoted himself, with unceasing ardour, to its perma- 
nent prosperity. 

It has oflen been the lot of those who have devoted 
themselves to the public service, to suffer in the decline of 
life from the hand of poverty. This was the lot of Mr. Jef- 
ferson. His patrimony was originally large, but was una- 
voidably neglected, in his attendance upon the duties of Um 
high official stations which he had filled. Partial efforts 



were made in his natire state, and in other parts of Ifae coun- 
try, to relieve his embarrassments ; but the precise extent of 
the measures adopted, in reference to this subject, we have 
not the means of ascertaining. 

At length, the day on which this illustrious man was to 
terminate his long and useful career, approached. That day, 
by the appointment of heaven, was to be the fourth of July, 
1826. He saw its approach with undisturbed serenity. He 
had no wish to live beyond that day. It was a day which, 
fifty years before, he had helped to make immortal. His 
wishes were answered ; and at ten minutes before one o'clock, 
on that day — memorable, also, for the departure of his com- 
patriot, Adams — ^Mr. Jefferson himself expired at Monticello. 
At this time he had reached the age of eighty-three years, 
two months, and twenty-one days. In stature, he was six 
feet and two inches high. His person was erect and well 
formed, though spare. The colour of his eyes was light, but 
they beamed with intelligence. 

We shall not attempt minutely to delineate the character 
of Mr. Jefferson ; this must be left to others, who may pos- 
sess greater facilities of doing him justice. It may be ob- 
served, however, that in his manners he was simple and un- 
affected ; at the same time possessing no inconsiderable 
share of dignity. In disposition he was uncommonly liberal 
and benevolent. In seasons of danger and perplexity, he 
exhibited no ordinary fortitude and strength of mind. His 
opinions were slowly formed, but yielded with great re- 
luctance. Over his passions he possessed an uncommon 

In his domestic habits, he was quite simple. He rose 
early, and through the whole day was unusually diligent in 
his application, either to business or study. He was ardent- 
ly devoted to literature and science, with almost every branch 
of which he was well acquainted. Of his peculiar opinions 
on religious subjects, we are designedly silent. In respect 
to these, the best and wisest of his countrymen have enter- 
tained very different sentiments. At a future day, it will 


M eooier to decide ia respect to their trm cbancter and 

It remaim to notice only one eircamstance more. " In a 
private memorandum found among some odier obituary pa- 
pers and relics of Hr. Jefferson, i> a suggestion, in eaae a 
monumeni orer him should erer be thought ol^ that a granite 
obelisk, of small dimensiona, should be erected, with the fol- 
lowing inscription : 


Antlior of tbo Declantioo of Indepnidaiic^ 

Of the Slatutci of Virginia, for Religioui FneitttO, 

And Father of the Unimrit; of Tirginlk." 


Benjahim Hassisok was the descendant of a ftmily long 
distinguished in the history of Virginia. Both his father and 
grandfather bore the name of Benjamin, and lived at Berkeley, 
where they owned, and where the family still owns, fl scat, 
beautifully situated on the banks of the James Hirer, in full 
▼ievof City Point, the seaport of Petersburg and Richmond 

The father of Mr. Harrison married the eldest daughter at 
Mr. Carter, the king's surreyor general, by whom he had six 
sons and four daughters. Two of the latter, with himself, 
were, at the same time, during the occurrence of a thunder 
storm, killed by lightning in the manrion house at Berkeley. 

Tlie subject of the present memoir was the eldest son of 
the preceding, but the date of his birth has not been satisfac- 
torily ascertained. He was a student in the college of Wil- 
Ham and Mary at the time of his father's death \ but, in con< 
sequence of a misunderstanding vith an officer of the college, 
he leti it before the regular period of gradnatton, and retnroed 


The management of his father's estate now deTolTed upon 
him ; and though young to be entrusted with a charge so im- 
portant, and involving responsibilities so weighty, he dis- 
played an unusual share of prudence and judgment. 

His ancestors having long been distinguished as political 
leaders in the province, he was summoned at an early date, 
even before he had attained to the age required by law, to 
sustain the reputation which they had acquired. He com- 
menced his political career as a member of the legrislatore, 
about the year 1764, a station which he may be said to have 
held through life, since he was always elected to a seat, 
whenever his other political employments admitted of his oc- 
cupying it. As a member of the provincial assembly, Mr. 
Harrison soon became conspicuous. To' strodg good sense 
he united great firmness and decision of character. Besides, 
his fortune being ample, and his connexions by marriage 
highly respectable, he was naturally marked out as a politi- 
cal leader, in whom general confidence might well be re- 
posed. * * "" 

The royal government, aware of his influence and respect- 
ability, was, at an early day, anxious to enlist him in its fa- 
vour, and accordingly proposed to create him a member of 
the executive council in Virginia, a station corresponding to 
the privy council in England, and one which few would have 
had the firmness to have declined. 

Mr. Harrison, however, though a young man, was not to 
be seduced from the path of duty by the rank and influence 
conferred by oflice. Even at this time, the measures of the 
British ministry, although not as oppressive as at a later day, 
were such as neither he nor the patriotic burgesses of Virgi- 
nia could approve. In opposition to the royal cause, he iden- 
tified himself with the people, whose rights and liberties he 
pursued with an ardour which characterized most of the pa- 
triots of the revolution. 

Passing over the following ten years of Mr. Harrison's life, 
in which few incidents either of a private or political nature 
are recorded of him, we arrive at the year 1T74, the era of 


the memorable congresa which laid the foundation of Ameri* 
can liberty, of which body Mr. Ilarrison was a member. 

From this period until the close of 1T77, during nearly 
every session of congress, Mr. Harrison represented his na- 
tive state in that distinguished assembly. Our limits forbid 
us entering into a minute detail of the important services 
which he rendered his country during his career in the na- 
tional legislature. As a member of the board of war, and as 
chairman of that board, an office which he retained until he 
left congress, he particularly distinguished himself. Accord- 
ing to the testimony of a gentleman who was contemporary 
with him in congress, he was characterized for great firmness, 
good sense, and a peculiar sagacity in difficult and critical 
situations. In seasons of uncommon trial and anxiety, he 
was always steady, cheerful, and undaunted. 

Mr. Harrison was also often called to preside as chairman 
of the committee of the whole house, in which station he was 
extremely popular. He occupied the chair during the deli- 
berations of congress on the despatches of Washington, the 
settlement of commercial restrictions, the state of the colo- 
nies, the regulation of trade, and during the pendency of the 
momentous question of our national independence. By his 
correctness and impartiality, during the warm and animated 
debates which were had on questions growing out of these 
important subjects, he gained the general confidence and ap- 
probation of the house. 

An interesting anecdote is related of him, on the occasion 
of the members affixing their signatures to the declaration of 
independence. While signing the instrument, he noticed 
Mr. Gerry of Massachusetts standing beside him. Mr. Har- 
rison himself was quite corpulent ; Mr. Gerry was slender 
and spare. As the former raised his hand, having inscribed 
his name on the roll, he turned to Mr. Gerry, and facetiously 
observed, that when the time of hanging should come, Ae 
should have the advantage over him. '* It will be over with 
me," said he, ** in a minute, but you will be kicking in the air 
half an hour after I am gone." 

Towards the close of the year ITHf Mr. Harrison resigned 



his seat in congress, and returned to Yirginia. He was soon 
after elected a member of the house of burgesses, of which 
body he was immediately chosen speaker, a station which he 
held until the year 1782. 

In this latter year, Mr. Harrison was elected to the office 
of chief magistrate of Virginia, and became one of the most 
popular goyemors of his native state. To this office he wts 
twice re-elected. In 1785, having become ineligible by the 
provisions of the constitution, he returned to private life, cany- 
ing with him the universal esteem and approbation of his 
fellow citizens. 

In 1788, when the new constitution of the United States 
was submitted to Virginia, he was returned a member of her 
convention. Of the first committee chosen by that body, thtt 
of privileges and elections, he was appointed chairman. 
Owing, however, to his advanced years, and to infirmities 
which were now coming in upon him, he took no very active 
part in the debates of the convention. . He was a friend, 
however, to the constitution, provided certain amendments 
could be made to it, and opposed its ratification until these 
should be incorporated with it. When the question was 
taken in the convention as to its unconditional ratification, 
the majority in the afiirmative was but ten. A minority so 
respectable in point of number and character was not to be 
slighted. Hence, the convention appointed a committee to 
prepare and report such amendments as they should deem 
necessary. Of this committee Mr. Harrison was a member, 
and, in connexion with his colleagues, introduced such a se- 
ries of amendments as were thought advisable, and which, 
after passing the convention, formed the basis of the altera- 
tions which were subsequently made. 

In 1790, Mr. Harrison was again proposed as a candidate 
to the executive chair. Finding, however, that if run it must 
he in opposition to Mr. Beverley Randolph, who was at that 
time governor, a gentleman distinguished for his great amia- 
bleness of character, and a particular and intimate (nend of 
Governor Harrison, the latter declined the designed honour. 


in consequence of which, Mr. Randolph' was elected, but by 
only a majority of two or three votes. 

In the spring of 1791, Mr. Harrison was attacked by a se- 
rere fit of the gout, of which howerer he partially recovered. 
In the month of April, he was elected a member of the legis- 
lature. On the evening of the day after, however, a recur- 
rence of his disease took place, which on the following day 
terminated his life. 

In his person, Mr. Harrison was above the ordinary height; 
le possessed a vigorous constitution, and in his manners was 
remarkably dignified. Owing to the free manner in which he 
fived, he, at length, became quite corpulent ; his features 
were less handsome, and the vigour of his constitution was 
much impaired. 

Those who recollect him represent his talents as rather 
useful than brilliant. He seldom entered into public discus- 
sions, nor was he fond of writing; yet when occasion required, 
he appeared with respectability in both. 

Mr. Harrison became connected by marriage with Eliza- 
beth Bassett, daughter of Colonel William Bassett, of the 
county of New Kent, a niece to the sister of Mrs. Washing- 
ton. He had m^^ny children, seven of whom only attained to 
any number of years. Several of his sons became men of 
considerable distinction, but no one has occupied so conspicu- 
ous a place in society as his third son, William Henry Harri- 
son. While young, this gentleman distinguished himself in 
a battle with the Indians at the rapids of Miami ; since which 
time, he has filled the ofiice of governor of Indiana Territory 
served as a high military ofiicer on the north-western fron- 
tier, been sent as a delegate from the state of Ohio in con- 
gress, and more recently been appointed to the important 
office of minister plenipotentiary to Mexico. 
36 36 




Thomas Nelson was born at York on the twenty-sixth of 
December, 1738. He was the eldest son of William NelsoD, 
a merchant of highly respectable character, who was de- 
scended from an English family, which settled at York, in 
the province of Virginia. By his prudence and industry, the 
latter acquired a large fortune. After the meridian of life, he 
held several offices of high distinction ; and at his death, which 
occurred a few years before the revolution, leil a. character, 
not only sullied by no stain, but justly venerated for the many 
virtues which adorned it. 

At the age of fourteen, Thomas Nelson was sent to Eng- 
land, for the purpose of acquiring an education. He was for 
some time placed at a private school, in a village in the neigh- 
bourhood of London ; whence he was removed to the uni- 
versity of Cambridge, where he enjoyed the instruction of 
that distinguished man, Doctor Bcilby Porteus, afterwards 
bishop of London. Under the guidance of this excellent 
man and accomplished scholar, young Nelson became deeply 
imbued with a taste for literary pursuits. 

About the close of 1761, he returned to his native coun- 
try, and in the following year became connected by marriage 
with a daughter of Philip Grymes, Esq. of Brandon, with 
whom he settled at York. The ample fortune given him by 
his father, at the time of his marriage, enabled him to main* 
tain a style of no common elegance and hospitality. 

At what period Mr. Nelson commenced his political careei, 
we have not been able to ascertain. He was, however, a 
member of the house of burgesses in 1774, and during the 
same year was appointed to the first general convention, 
which met at Williamsburg on the first of August, The next 
year, 1775, he was a second time returned a member to the 
general convention of the province, during the session of 
which, he introduced a resolution for organizing a military 
force in the province, a step which obviously placed the co- 
lony of Virginia in the attitude of opposition to the mother 


country. This plan was at first startling to some of the 
warmest friends of liberty ; but in the issue, it proved a mea- 
sure of high importance to the colonies. 

In July, 1775, the third convention of Virginia delegates 

assembled at Richmond, and in the following month Mr. Nel- 
son was appointed a delegate to represent the colony in the 
continental congress, which was to assemble at Philadelphia. 
Agreeably to this appointment, he took his seat in that body 
on the thirteenth of September. 

From this time, until May, 1777, Mr. Nelson continued to 
represent the colony of Virginia in the national council, where 
he was frequently appointed on important committees, and 
was highly distinguished for his sound judgment and liberal 
sentiments. In the month of May, of the year mentioned 
above, wliile attending in his place in congress, he was sud- 
denly attacked with a disease of the head, probably of a para- 
lytic nature, which, for a time, greatly impaired his mental 
faculties, particularly his memory. 

He now returned to Virginia, soon after which he resigned 
his seat in congress. His health gradually returning, his ser- 
vices were again demanded by the public, and by the governor 
and council he was appointed brigadier general and com- 
mander in chief of the forces of the commonwealth. In this 
office he rendered the most important services to his country 
in genera], and to the colony of Virginia in particular. His 
ample fortune enabled him, in cases of emergency, to advance 
money to carry forward the military operations of the day, 
nor did the generosity of his nature allow him to withhold 
his hand whenever occasion demanded advancements. 

In 1779, the health of Mr. Nelson being, as it was thought, 
confirmed, he was induce^ again to accept a seat in congress. 
The arduous duties, however, to which he was called, con- 
nected with the long confinement which those duties required, 
induced a recurrence of his former complaint, which com- 
pelled him again to return home. 

Happily for his country, his health was again restored, and 
he entered with great animation into several military expedi 
lions against the British, who, at that time, were making the 



southern states the chief theatre of war. In 1781, Mr. Jef- 
ferson, who had for three years filled the executire chair, left 
it, upon which General Nelson was called to succeed him. 
This was a gloomy period in the annals of Virginia. In re- 
peated instances the state was invaded, and the path of the 
enemy marked by wanton and excessive barbarity. The le- 
gislature were several times interrupted in their deliberations, 
and repeatedly obliged to adjourn to a different and more re 
tired place. Immediately following the accession of Mr. Nel- 
son to the executive chair, they were driven, as was noticed 
in the life of Mr. Jefferson, by Tarlton, from Charlottesville 
to Staunton. 

At this time they passed a law, *' by which the governor, 
with the advice of the council, was empowered to procure, 
by impress or otherwise, under such regulations as they 
should devise, provisions of every kind, all sorts of clothing, 
accoutrements and furniture proper for the use of the army, 
negroes as pioneers, horses both for draught and cavalry, 
wagons, boats, and other* vessels, with their crews, and all 
other tilings which might be necessary for supplying the 
militia, or other troops, employed in the public service." 

According to this law, Mr. Nelson could not constitution- 
ally act, except with the advice of his council. Owing to 
the capture of two of the council by Tarlton, and to the 
resignation of two others, that body was reduced to four 
nembers, the least number which agreeably to the constitu- 
uon could act. Even this number, in the distracted state of 
he country, it was difficult and nearly impossible to keep 

Thus circumstanced, Governor Nelson determined, at the 
risk of public censure, to take those measures which the 
safety of the state and the good of the country demanded. 
These measures were taken ; and though departing from the 
strict line of duty as defined by the laws of the common- 
wealth, it was owing to his prompt and independent course 
that the army was kept together until the battle of Yorktown 
gave the finishing stroke to the war. 

Soon after the occurrence of that memorable and glorious 

NKLsoir, juk. 4I3 

event, Governor Nelson had the pleasure of receiving a jnst 
expression of thanks from General Washington, who, in his 
general orders of the 30th of October, 1781, thus spoke of 
him : " The general would be guilty of the highest ingrati- 
tude, a crime of which he hopes he sliall never be accused, 
if he forgot to return his sincere acknowledgments to his 
excellency Governor Nelson, for the auccours which he re- 
ceived from him, and the militia under his command, to 
whose activity, emulation, and bravery, the highest praises 
are due. The magnitude of the acquisition wilt be ample 
compensation for the difficatties and dangers which they 
met with so much firmness and patriotism." 

At the expiration of a month, following the surrender of 
Lord Cornwsllis, Governor Nelson finding his health im- 
paired by the arduous duties to which he had been called, 
tendered his resignation as chief magiBtraie of Virginia. 

The many services which be had rendered, the great self- 
denial which he had practised, the uncommon liberality 
which he had manifested, entitled him to the gratitude of the 
people, and to the unmolested enjoyment of the few years 
which remained to bira. . But scarcely had his resigna- 
tion been accepted, when an accusation was laid before the 
legislature by his enemies, charging him with having tran- 
scended his powers in acting without the consent lof his 

Soon after the presentment of this accusation. Governor 
Nelson addressed a letter to the legislature, requesUng an in- 
vestigaUon of his official conduct. In compliance with this 
request, a committee was appointed for that purposet who, 
at length, having reported, the legislature, on the 31st of 
December, 17S1, passed the following act : 

" An act to indemnify Thomas Nelson, Junior, Esquire, 
late governor of this commonwealth, and to legalise certain 
acts of his administration. Whereas, npon examination it 
appears that previous to, and during the seige of York, 
Thomas Nelson, Esquire, late governor of this commoiH 
wealUi, was compelled by the peculiar cirenmatances of tlw 
•late and army, to perform many acta of gOTemincnt wiUionl 

414 wnmixiA oBUMAf 

die adTiee of ihe conndl of ttate, for the purpose of pro- 
cnring subsistcace and other nectwaries for the allied armj 
under the command of hia excellenej General Waohington : 
be it enacted, that all rach acts of goTemmenl, evidentlf 
productive of general good, and warranted bj neeeaaity, be 
judged and held of the eame Talidity* and the Uke proceed 
ings be had on them« as if they had been ezecated by and 
with the advice of the counciU end with all the formalitiet 
preecribed by law. And be it further enacted* that the said 
Thomas Nelson* Jun* Esq. be, and hereby is* in the fiillest 
manner^ indemnified and exonerated from all penalties and 
dangers which might have accrued to him from the salne.** 

Having thus been honourably acquitted of chergee frosi 
which his noUe and patriotic conduct ought to huTe saved 
him, he now retired wholly from public life. Hia death oc- 
curred on the 4th d/ January, 1789, just after he had com* 
pleted his fiftieth year. Few patriots of the revolution have 
descended to the' grave more justly honoured and beloved. 
Few possessed a more ample 'fortune ; few contributed more 
liberally to support the cause of liberty. It was the patriot- 
ism, the firmness, the generosity, 4he magnanimous sacrifices 
of such men, that conducted the colonies through a gloomy 
contest of seven years continuance, and gaye them a rank 
among the independent nations of the earth. 

We shall conclude this notice of this illustrious man, by 
presenting to our readers the tribute, which was happily and 
afiectionately paid to his memory by Colonel Innes : 

^'The illustrious General Thomas Nelson is no more! 
He paid the last great debt to nature, on Sunday, the fourth 
of the present month, at his estate in Hanover. He who 
undertakes barely to recite the exalted virtues which adorned 
the life of this great and good man, will unavoidably pro* 
nounce a panegyric on human nature. As a man, a citizen, 
a legislator, and a patriot, he exhibited a conduct untarnished 
and undebased by sordid or selfish interest, and strongly 
marked with the genuine characteristics of true religion, 
sound benevolence, and fiberal policy. Entertaining the 
most ardent love for civil and roligiomi liberty, 1m wae 


among Ihe first of that glorious band of patriots whose ex- 
ertions dashed and defeated the machinations of British 
tyranny, and gave United America freedom and independent 
empire. At a moat important crisis, during the late straggle 
for American liberty, when this state appeared to be desig- 
nated as the theatre of action for the contending armies, he 
was selected by the unanimous suffrage of the legislature to 
command the virtuous yeomanry of his country ; in this 
honourable employment he remained until the end of the 
war ; as a soldier, he was indefatigably active and coolly in- 
trepid ; resolute and undejected in misfortunes, he towered 
above distress, and struggled with the manifold difficulties to 
which his situation exposed him, with constancy and courage. 
In the memorable year 17S1, when the whole force of the 
southern British army was directed to the immediate subju- 
gation of this slate, he was called to the helm of govern- 
ment; this was a juncture which indeed ' tried men's souls.* 
He did not avail himself of this opportunity to retire in the 
rear of danger ; but on Ihe contrary, took the field at the 
head of hit. countrymen ; and at the hazard of his life, his 
fame, and individual fortune, by his decision and magna- 
nimity, he saved not only hia country, but all America, from 
disgrace, if not from total ruin. Of this truly patriotic and 
heroic conduct, the renowned commander in chief, with all 
the gallant officers of the combined armies employed at the 
siege of York, will bear ample testimony ; this part of his 
conduct even contemporary jealousy, envy, and malignity 
were forced to approve, and this, mora impartial posterity, 
if it can believe, will almost adore. If, after contemplating 
the splendid and heroic parts of his character, we shall in- 
quire for the milder virtues of humanity, and seek for the 
man, we shall find the refined, beneficent, and social qualities 
of private life, through all its forms and combinations, so 
happily modified and united in him, that in the words of th« 
darling poet of nature, it may be said, 

<Hii life wu gentle : ana the clemenH 

So mixed in Um, lint BaUirt migfat stand t^ 

And nj to all ths woikl~U)k ooa a man.' " 

410 TimoiNiA rauMATioir. 


Francib Liohtfoot Lee, the fourth son of Thomas Lee, 
was born on the fourteenth day of October, 1734. His father 
for several years held the office of president of the king's 
council of the provincial government of Virginia* He had 
several sons, all of whom were highly distinguished for their 
talents, and for the services which they rendered their coun- 
try. Philip Ludwell, a member of the king's council ; Tho- 
mas Ludwell, a member of the Virginia assembly ; Richard 
Henry, as the champion of American freedom ; William, as a 
sheriff and alderman of London, and afterwards a commis- 
sioner of the continental congress at the courts of Berlin and 
Vienna ; and Arthur as a scholar, a politician, and diplomatist 

Francis Lightfoot, the subject of the present memoir, was 
perhaps not less distinguished, although he had not the ad- 
vantages, which were enjoyed by the elder sons, of an educa- 
tion at the English universities. His advantages, however, 
were not of a moderate character. He was placed under the 
care of a domestic tutor of the name of Craig, a gentleman 
distinguished for his love of letters, and for his ability to im- 
^ part useful knowledge to those of whom he had the care. Un- 
der such a man, the powers of Francis Lightfoot rapidly un- 
folded. He acquired an early fondness for reading and men 
tal investigation, and became well acquainted with the vari 
ous branches of science and literature. 

The fortune bequeathed him by his father rendered the 
study of a profession unnecessary. He, therefore, devoted 
himself for several years to reading, and to the enjoyment of his 
friends. He was a man, however, in whom dwelt tlie spirit 
of the patriot, and who could not well be neglected, nor could 
he well neglect his country, when the political troubles of the 
colonies began. 

In 1765, he was returned a member of the house of bur- 
gesses from the county of Loudon, where his estate was si- 
tuated. In this situation, he proved himself to be a gentleman 
of strong good sense and discriminating judgment ; and to this 


office he was annually re-elected until 1772 ; when having be- 
come connected by marriage with a daughter of Colonel John 
Tayloe, of the county of Richmond, he removed to that coun- 
ty, the citizens of which soon after elected him a member di 
the house of burgesses. 

In 1775, Mr. Lee was chosen a member of the continental 
congress, by the Virginia convention. This was an eventful 
period in the annals of America. It was the year in which 
was shed the first blood in the revolutionary struggle. It 
was emphatically the year of '* clouds and darkness," in which 
indeed the hope of better days was indulged, but in which, 
notwithstanding this hope, '* men's souls were tried.*' 

Mr. Lee continued a member of congress until the spring 
of 1779. During his attendance upon this body, he seldom 
took part in the public discussions, but few surpassed him in 
his warmth of patriotism, and in his zeal to urge forward those 
measures which contributed to the success of the American 
arms, and the independence of the country. To his brother, 
Richard Henry Lee, the high honour was allotted of bringing 
forward the momentous question of independence, and to him, 
and his associates in that distinguished assembly, the not in- 
ferior honour was granted of aiding and supporting and 
finishing this important work. 

As already noticed, Mr. Lee retired from congress in the 
year 1779. It was his wish to be exempted from public care, 
and in the pleasures of home to seek those enjoyments which 
were consentaneous to his health and happiness. 

This seclusion, however, he was not permitted long to en- 
joy. The internal condition of Virginia, at this time, was 
one of much agitation and perplexity. His fellow citizens, 
justly appreciating the value of such a man, summoned him 
by their suffrages to represent them in the legislature of Vir- 
ginia. Although reluctantly, he obeyed the summons, and 
took his seat in that body. He was fond of ease, and of the 
pleasures of domestic life ; still he was conscious of his obli- 
gations, and most faithfully discharged them. While a mem- 
ber of the continental congress, he had been characterized for 

fU9 wmmmu, »bx.b«4tios. 

integrityv sound jtidginent» and love of -cimiitrj* In his pn 
•ent office, he was distingidshed for the nme Tirtues. 

He could not content himaeU^ however, long in thin sitna 
lion. He became wearied with the dalles of paUie life ; and, 
at length, relinqoished them for the pleasores of retirement 

In this latter course of life, he not only enjoyed himself 
highly, bat contributed greafly to the happiness of many 
around him. The benevolence of his disposition, end the 
urbanity of his manners, recommended him both to the old 
and the young, to the gay and the grave. The poor shared 
in his benevolence and advice. In his intercourse with 
his particular Inends, he was uncommonly pleasing and in- 

Mr. Lee, having no children to require his care and atten- 
tion, devoted much of hb time to the pleasures of reading, 
fiurming, and the company of his friends. His death was oc- 
, casioned by a pleurisy, which disease about the same time, 
also, attacked his beloved wife, and terminated the life of both, 
within a few days of each other. It is said, that he had em- 
braced the religion of the gospel, and that under its support- 
ing hope and consolation, he made his exit in peace from 
the world. 


Carter Braxton was the son of Oeorge Braxton, a 
wealthy planter of Newington, in the county of King and 
Queen, in Virginia, where he was bom on the tenth of Sep- 
tember, 1736. His mother was the daughter of Robert Car- 
ter, who was for some time a member, and the president of 
the king*8 council. 

Carter Braxton was liberally educated, at the college of Wil- 
liam and Mary. About the time that he left college, it is 
supposed that his father died, although this is not well ascer- 


UiDed. On (his event, he became posMosed of a considenble 
ibrlune, consisting chiefly of land and slaves. Hit estate was 
mnch increased, by his marriage, at the early age of ninetMn 
years, with the daughter of Mr. Christapher Rohinson, « 
wealthy planter of the county of Middlesex. 

He had the misfortune to lose his wife within a few years 
of his marriage, aooD after which he embarked for England, 
for the purpose of improving his mind and mannen. He re* 
turned to America in 1760 ; and, in the following year, was 
married to the eldest daughter of Richard Corbin, of Lanne- 
Tille, by whoin he had sixteen children. The life of Mrs. 
Braxton was continued until the year 1814. Of her numer- 
ous children, one only, a daughter, it is believed, is still living. 

The ample fortune of Mr. Braxton rendering the study of 
a profession unnecessary, he became a gentleman planter. 
He lived in considerable splendour, according to the fashion 
uf the landed aristocracy at that day. Yet, it is said, that 
his fortune was not impaired by it 

Upon his retarn from a voyage to England, he was called 
to a seat in the house of burgesses ; end in 1765, particu- 
larly distinguished himself at the time that Patrick Henry 
brought forward his celebrated resolutions on the stamp act. 

From this date, until 1T76, the political career of M» 
Braxton corresponded, in general, with that of the other 
delegates from Virginia, of whom we have given a more par 
licular and circumstantial account. It will be unnecessary 
therefore, to observe in this place more than that Mr. Brax 
ton was, during this period, for the most part, a member of 
the house of burgesses, and a member of the first convention 
which ever met in Virginia. Nor is it necessary to speak 
particularly of the patriotic zeal and firmness which charac- 
terized him, in all the duties which he was called upon to 

On the twenty-second of October, 1775, the distingmshcfi 
Peyton Randolph died at Philadelphia, while presiding over 
congress. In the following month, the convention of Vir- 
ginia proceeded to appoint his successor, upon which Mr. 
Braxton was elected. In that body he 9000 idlet fooh !i)i 

496 ^nrnmnoA nmsMmMTum. 

■eat, and was present on Uie occasion which gave birth to 
tile dedaration of independcaice. 

In Jone. 1770, the contention of Tirginia redueed the 
number of their delegates in congress to ^re^ anjr three of 
whom, it was directed, should be sufficient In consequence 
of this resolution, Mr. Harrison and Mr. Braxton were 

In the month of October, 1770, the first general assemblj 
under the republican constitution, awembled at lIHlliamsburg. 
Of this assembly Mr* Braxton was a member, and soon alter 
ttking his seat, he had the pleasure of receiring, in connexion 
with Thomas Jefferson, an expression of the publle thanks in 
the following language : 

" Saturday, October 120, 1776. 
" Resolved, unanimously, that the thanks of this house are 
justly due to Thomas Jefferson and Carter Braxton, Esquires, 
for the diligence, ability, and integrity, with which they exe- 
cuted the important trust reposed in them, as two of the dele- 
gates for this county in the general congress." 

Of the above first session of the legislature of Virginia, , 
Mr. Braxton was an active member. This session, as might 
be supposed, was interesting and important, from the circum- 
stance that being the first, it was called upon to accommodate 
the government to the great change which the people had 
undergone in their political condition. From this time, he 
continued to be a delegate in the house for several years, 
where he proved himself to be faithful to his constituents, 
and a zealous advocate for civil and religious liberty. 

In 1786, he received an appointment as a member of the 
council of state of the commonwealth, which office he con- 
tinued to execute until the thirtieth of March, 1791. After 
an interval of a few years, during which he occupied a seat 
in the house of delegates, he was again elected into the exe- 
cutive council, where he continued imtil October, 1797, on 
the tenth of which month he was removed to another world, 
by means of an attack of paralysis* 



Mr. Braxton was a gentleman of cultivated mind, and re- 
spectable talents. Although not distinguished by the im- 
pressive eloquence of Henry and Lee, his oratory was easy 
and flowing. In his manners, he was peculiarly agreeable, 
and the language of his conversation and eloquence was 
smooth and flowing. 

The latter days of Mr. Braxton were embittered by several 
unfortunate commercial speculations, which involved him in 
pecuniary embarrassments, from which he found it impossible 
to extricate himself. Several vexatious law-suits, in which 
he became engaged, contributed still farther to diminish his 
property, and unfortunately led him unintentionally to injure 
several of his friends, who were his sureties. The morning 
of his days was indeed bright; but, like many a morning 
which appears in the natural world without clouds, his was 
followed, towards the close of the day, by clouds and dark- 
ness, under which he sunk, imparting an impressive lesson of 
the passing nature of the form and fashion of the present 





WiLLiAK HoorxB, 
JoaiPB Hswcs, 
John Puw. 


William Hooper wag a nalive of Boston, province of 
Hassachusettc Bay. where be wai born on the seventeenth 
of June, 1743. 

HiB father's name was also William Hooper. He wu 
bom in Scotland, in the year 1702, and soon after leaving the 
university of Edinburgh emigrated to America. He settled in 
Boston, where he became connected in marriage wi[h the 
daughter of Mr. John Dennie, a respectable merchant. Not 
long after his emigration, hfe was elected pastor of Trinity 
Church, in Boston, in which office, such were his fidelity and 
afiectionate intercourse with the people of his charge, that 
long after hia death he was remembered by them with pecu* 
liar venera^on and regard. 

William Hooper, a biographical notice of whom we an 
now to give, was the eldest of five children. At an early ag« 
he exhibited indications of considerable talent. Until he was 
•even years old, he was instructed by his &ther ; bot, at 
length, became a member of a free grammar school in Boston 


wliich at that time was under the care of Mr. John Lovell, a 
teacher of distinguished eminence. At the age of fifteen, hie 
entered Harvard university, where he acquired the reputation 
of a good classical scholar ; and, at length, in ITGO, com^ 
menced bachelor of arts, with distinguished honour. 

Mr. Hooper had destined his son for the ministerial office. 
But his inclination turning towards the law, he obtained his 
father's consent to pursue the studies of tltat profession, in 
the office of the celebrated James Otis. On being qualified 
for the bar, he left the province of Massachusetts, with the 
design of pursuing the practice of his profession in North 
Carolina. After spending a year or two in that province, his 
father became exceedingly desirous that he should return 
home. The health of his son had greatly sufiered, in conse- 
quence of an excessive application to the duties of his profes- 
sion. In addition to this, the free manner of living, generally 
adopted by the wealthier inhabitants of the south, and in which 
he had probably participated, had not a little contributed to 
the injury of his health. 

Notwithstanding the wishes of his father, in regard to his 
favourite son, the latter, at length, in the fall of 1767, fixed 
h\n residence permanently in North Carolina, and became 
connected by marriage with Miss Ann Clark, of Wilmington* 
tn that province. 

Mr. Hooper now devoted himself with great zeal to his 
professional duties. He early enjoyed the confidence of his 
fellow citizens, and was highly respected by his brethren at 
the bar, among whom he occupied an enviable rank. 

In the year 1773, he was appointed to represent the town 
of Wilmington, in which he resided, in the general assembly. 
In the following year he was elected to a seat in the same 
body, soon after taking which, he was called upon to assist 
in opposing a most tyrannical act of the British government, 
in respect to the laws regulating the courts of justice in the 

The former laws in relation to these courts being abcat to 
expire, others became necessary. Accordingly, a bill was 
brought forward, the provbions of which were designed to 


regulate the courts as formerly. But the adv^ocates of the 
British government took occasion to introduce a clause into 
the bill, which was intended to exempt from attachment all 
•pecies of property in North Carolina, which belonged to 
non-residents. This bill having passed the senate, and been 
approved of by the governor, was sent to the house of repre- 
sentatives, where it met with a most spirited opposition. In 
this opposition Mr. Hooper took the lead. In strong and 
animated language, he set forth the injustice of this part of 
the bill, and remonstrated against its passage by the house. 
In consequence of the measures which were pursued by the 
respective houses composing the general assembly, the pro- 
vince was left for more than a year without a single court of 
law. Personally to Mr. Hooper, the issue of this business 
was highly injurious, since he was thus deprived of the prac- 
tice of his profession, upon which he depended for his sup- 
port. Conscious, however, of having discharged his duty, 
he bowed in submission to the pecuniary sacrifices to which 
he was thus called, preferring honourable poverty to the 
greatest pecuniary acquisitions, if the latter must he made at 
the expense of principle. 

On the twenty-fifth of August, 1774, Mr. Hooper was elect- 
ed a delegate to the general congress, to be held at Philadel- 
phia. Soon after taking his seat in this body, he was placed 
upon several important committees, and when occasion re- 
quired, took a share in the animated discussions, which were 
had on the various important subjects which came before 
them. On one occasion, and the first on which he addressed 
the house, it is said, that he so entirely rivetted the attention 
of the members by his bold and animated language, that many 
expressed their wonder that such eloquence should flow forth 
from a member from North Carolina. 

In the following year, Mr. Hooper was again appointed a 
delegate to serve in the second general congress, during whose 
session he was selected as the chairman of a committee ap- 
pointed to report an address to the inhabitants of Jamaica. 
The draught was the production of his pen. It was charac- 
terized for great boldness, and was eminently adapted to pro- 


4]ace a strong impression upon the people for whom it was 
designed. In conclusion of the address, Mr. Hooper used 
the following bold and animated language : 

'^ That our petitions have been treated with disdain, is now 
become the smallest part of our complaint : ministerial inso- 
lence is lost in ministerial harbarity. It has, by an exertion 
peculiarly ingenious, procured those very measures, which it 
laid us under the hard necessity of pursuing, to be stigma- 
tized in parliament as rebellious : it has employed additional 
fleets and armies for the infamous purpose of compelling us 
to abandon them : it has plunged us in all the horrors and ca- 
lamities of a civil war : it has caused the treasure and blood 
of Britons (formerly shed and expended for far other ends) to 
be spilt and wasted in the execrable design of spreading 
slavery over British America : it will not, however, accom- 
plish its aim ; in the worst of contingencies, a choice will still 
be left, which it never can prevent us from making." 

In January, 1776, Mr. Hooper was appointed, with Dr. 
Franklin and Mr. Lii'ingston, a committee to report to con- 
gress a proper method of honouring the memory of General 
Montgomery, who had then recently fallen heneath the walla 
of Quebec. This committee, in their report, recommended 
the erection of a monument, which, while it expressed the re- 
spect and affection of the colonies, might record, for the he- 
nefit of future ages, the patriotic zeal and fidelity, enterprise 
and perseverance of the hero, whose memory the monument 
was designed to celehrate. In compliance with the recom- 
mendation of this committee, a monument was afterwards 
erected by congress in the city of New- York. 

In the spring, 1776, the private business of Mr. Hooper so 
greatly required his attention in North Carolina, that he did 
not attend upon the sitting of congress. He returned, how- 
ever, in season to shore in the honour of passing and pub- 
lishing to the world the immortal declaration of independence. 

On the twentieth of December, 1776, he was elected a de- 
legate to congress for the third time. The embarrassed situ- 
ation of his private affairs, however, rendered his longer ab- 
once from Carolina inconsistent with his interests. Accord 
31 36* 


iBgly^ in February, 1777, he relinqubhed his seat in con- 
gress, and not long after tendered to the general assembly his 
resignation of the important trust 

But, although he found it necessary to retire from this par- 
ticular sphere of action, he was nevertheless usefully employed 
in Carolina. He was an ardent friend to his country, zeal 
ously attached to her rights, and ready to make every required 
personal sacrifice for her good. Nor like many other patriots 
of the day, did he allow himself to indulge in despondency. 
While to otliers the prospect appeared dubious, he would al- 
ways point to some brighter sp<^ts on the canvass, and upon 
these he delighted to dwell. 

In 1786, Mr. Hooper was appointed by congress one of the 
judges of a federal court, which was formed for the purpose 
of settling a controversy which existed between the states of 
New-York and Massachusetts, in regard to certain lands, the 
jurisdiction of which each pretehded to claim. The point at 
issue was of great importance, not only as it related to a con- 
siderable extent of territory, but in respect of the people of 
these two states, among whom great excitement prevailed on 
the subject Fortunately, the respective parties themselves 
appointed commissioners to settle the dispute, which was, at 
length, amicably done, and the above federal court were saved 
a most difficult and delicate duty. 

In the following year, the constitutional infirmities of Mr. 
Hooper increasing, his health became considerably impaired. 
He now gradually relaxed from public and professional exer- 
tions, and in a short time sought repose in retirement, which 
he greatly coveted. In the month of October, 1790, at the 
early age of forty-eight years, he was called to exchange 
worlds. He left a widow, two sons, and a daughter, tlie last 
of whom only, it is believed, still lives. 

In his person, Mr. Hooper was of middle stature, well 
formed, but of delicate and slender appearance. He carried 
a pleasing and intelligent countenance. In his manners he 
was polite and engaging, although towards those with whom 
he was not particularly acquainted, he was somewhat re- 
served. He was distinguished for his powers of conversa- 


tion ; in point of literary merit he had hut few n?ab in the 
neighbourhood in which he dwelt 

As a lawyer, he was distinguished for his professional 
knowledge, and indefatigable zeal in respect to business with 
which he was entrusted. Towards his brethren he ever 
maintained a high and honourable course of conduct, and 
particularly towards the younger members of the bar. A» a 
politician, he was characterized for judgment, ardour, and 
constancy. In times of the greatest political difficulty and 
danger, he was calm, but resolute. He never desponded ; 
but trusting to the justice of his country's cause, he had 
an unshaken confidence that heaven would protect and de* 
liver her. 


Joseph Hewes was born near Kingston, in New-Jersey, 
in the year 1730. His parents were Aaron and Providence 
Hewes, who were members of the society of friends, and 
who originally belonged to the colony of Connecticut They 
were induced, however, to remove from New-England, on 
account of the prejudices which existed among the descen* 
dants of the puritans against those who adopted the quiver 
dress, or professed the quaker faith. 

At the period of their removal, many parts of New-Eng<* 
land were suffering from the frequent hostilities of the In- 
dians, who, roving through the forests in their vicinity, often 
made sudden incursions upon the inhabitants of those colo- 
nies, and generally marked their route with the most shock- 
ing barbarities. The murderous spirit of the Indians was 
also, at this time, much inflamed by an act of the govern* 
ment of Massachusetts, which had increased the premium on 
Indian scalps and indian prisoners to a hundred pounds for 
each. By way of retallationy the Indians often made their 


sanguinary incursions into the territoiy . of ' 

and not unfrequently extended their jourBies among Ibe io- 

offensive farmers of Connecticut. Hence* many of the latter, 

desirous of a more quiet and secure life, were indiMed to 

seek a permanent residence in the remoter parts of tlie 


Among those who thus fled from the aaaajTMice of prejiH 
dice, and from the deeper wrath of a savage foe, were the 
parents of Joseph Hewes. But even in their flight thej nar* 
rowly escaped the death which they wished to avoid* On 
passing the Housatonic River, a party of the iodiaiui came so 
nearly upon them, that Mrs. Hewes was wounded in tl^ neck 
by a ball shot from the gun of a savage. 

In New-Jersey, however, where they at length arrived, 
they found a peaceful and secure home. Here, some time 
after their settlement, their son Joseph Hewes was bom. Of 
the incidents of his younger days we know but little. At a 
proper age he became a member of Princeton College, from 
which, having graduated tin due course, he was placed in the 
counting-house of a gentleman at Philadelphia, to be educated 
as a merchant. 

On leaving tlie counting-house of his employer, he entered 
into the mercantile business for himself, and soon became 
an active and thrifty merchant. 

At the age of thirty he removed to North Carolina, and 
settled in the village of Edenton. The yanie prosperity 
which had attended him at Philadelphia, followed him to a 
more southern province, and in a few years he acquired a 
handsome fortune. 

Mr. Hewes, both before and after his removal to North 
Carolina, sustained the reputation of a man of probity and 
honour. He acquired the confidence and esteem of the peo 
pie among whom he lived, and was soon called to represent 
them in the colonial legislature of the province. This dis 
tinction was conferred upon him for several successive years 
with increasing usefulness to his constituents, ajid increasing 
credit to himself. 

At length, in the year 1774, a congress, well known in the 

•nnals of the American colonies, assembled in Philadelphia. 
In that body were three delegates from North Carolina, of 
whom Mr. Hcwes was one. 

The instructions and powers given to the delegates of this 
congress by the people of the several colonies, were consider- 
ably diversified. No public body, at that time, contemplated 
a separation from the mother country, and with no powers 
to this effect were any of the delegates to the congress of 
1T74 invested. Their object respected the means most 
proper to restore harmony between themselves and Great 
Britain, to obtain redress of grievances which the colonies 
suffered, and to secure to them the peaceful enjo3rment of 
their unalienable rights, as British subjects. 

No delegates to this congress carried with them credentials 
of a bolder stamp, than those from North Carolina. They 
were invested with such powers as might " make any acts 
done by them, or consent given in behalf of this province, 
obligatory in honour upon any inhabitant thereof, who is not 
an alien to his country^s good, and an apostate to the liberties 
of America." 

On the meeting of this congress, two important committees 
were appointed ; the one, to *' state the rights of the colonies 
in general, the several instances in which these ^rights are 
violated or infringed, and the means most proper to be pur- 
sued for obtaining a restoration of them;** the other, to 
** examine and report the several statutes which affect the 
trade and manufactures of the colonies." Of the former of 
these conimiUees, Mr. Hewes was appointed a member, and 
assisted in preparing their celebrated report 

This report contained a temperate, but clear declaration 
of the rights of the English colonies in North Anterica, which 
were expressed in the following language : 

" 1. That they are entitled to life, liberty, and property ; 
and they have never ceded to any sovereign power whatever 
a right to dispose of either, without their consent 

'^ 2. That our ancestors, who first settled these colonies, 
were, at the time of their emigration from the mother coud- 



tryf entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free 
and natural bom subjects, within the realm of England* 

'*3. That by such emigration they by no means forfeited, 
surrendered, or lost, any of those rights ; but that they were, 
and their descendants now are, entitled to the exercise and 
enjo}inent of all such of them as their local and other dr- 
cumstances enable them to exercise and enjoy. 

"4. Tdat the foundation of English liberty, and of free go- 
▼emment,i8 a right in the people to participate in their legi^- 
tive council ; and as the English colonists are not represented, 
and, from their local and other circumstances, cannot pro- 
perly be represented in the British parliament, they are enti« 
tied to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their seve- 
ral provincial legislatures, where their right of representation 
can alone be pursued in all cases of taxation and internal po- 
lity, subject only to the negative of their sovereign, in such 
manner as has been heretofore used and accustomed ; but if 
from the necessity of the case, and a regard to the mutual 
interests of both countries, we cheerfully consent to the ope- 
ration of such acts of the British parliament as are bona 
fide restrained to the regulation of our external commerce, 
for the purpose of securing the commercial advantages of the 
whole empire to the mother country, and the commercial be- 
nefit of its respective members ; excluding every idea of taxa 
tion, internal or external, for raising a revenue on the subjects 
in America, without their consent. 

" 5. That the respective colonies are entitled to the common 
law of England, and, more especially, to the great and inesti- 
mable privilege of being tried by their peers of the vicinage, 
according to the course of that law. 

"6. That they are entitled to the benefit of such of the Eng- 
lish statutes as existed at the time of their colonization, and 
which they have, by experience, respectively found applica- 
ble to their several local and other circumstances. 

"7. That these his majesty's colonies are likewise entitled 
to all the immunities and privileges granted and confirmed 
to them by royal charters, or secured by their several codes 
of provincial laws. 

J08BPB B1WX8. ' 431' 

** 8. That they have a right peaceably to assemble, eonrider 
of their grieyances, and petition the king ; and that all pro- 
secutions, prohibitory proclamations, and commitments for 
the same, are illegal. 

** 9. That the keeping a standing amy in these colonies in 
times of peace, without consent of the legislature of that co- 
lony in which such army is kept, is against the law. 

<* 10. It is indispensably necessary to good government, and 
rendered essential by the English constitution, that the con- 
stituent branches of the legislature be independent of each 
other; and therefore the exercise of legislative power in seve- 
ral colonies by a council appointed during pleasure by the 
crown, is unconstitutional, dangerous, and destructive to the 
freedom of American legislation. '^ 

** All and each of which the aforesaid deputies, in behalf of 
themselves and their constituents, do claim, demand, and in- 
sist on, as their indisputable rights and liberties, which can- 
not be legally taken from them, altered, or abridged, by any 
power whatever, without their consent, by their representa- 
tives in their several provincial legislatures." 

To the above declaration of rights was added an enumera- 
tion of the wrongs already sustained by the colonies ; after 
stating which, the report concluded as' follows : 

** To these grievous acts and measures, Americans cannot 
submit ; but in hopes their fellow subjects in Great Britain 
will, on a revision of them, restore us to that state in which 
both countries found happiness and prosperity, we have, for 
the present, only resolved to pursue the following peaceable 
measures: 1. To enter into a non-importation, non-con- 
sumption, and non-exportation agreement, or association. 
52. To prepare an address to the people of Great Britain, and 
a memorial to the inhabitants of British America. And, 3. to 
prepare a loyal address to his majesty, agreeably to resola- 
tions already entered into." 

Few measures adopted by any session of congress during 
the revolutionary struggle, were more remarkable than that 
of the congress of 1774, which recommended the system of 
nan'importation. It was a measure dictated by the highest 


patrioiism» and proceeded upon the acknowledgred fmct, fbal 
the mine exalted patriotbm which existed among them, exist- 
ed, alao, among the American people. The efficiency of the 
measure, it was obyious, must lie in the union of the people 
to support it. They must adopt and persevere in a sjatem 
of privation. A willingnesa to do this generally prevailed 
throughout the colonies; and to the government of Great 
Britain was presented the spectacle of thirteen colonies 
adopting a measure, novel, perhaps, in the history of the 
world, and supporting it at the sacrifice of a great portion of 
those comforts which they had been accustomed to enjoy. 

Although a merchant, and one who had been engaged in 
commercial transactions with England for the space of twenty 
years, Mr. Hewes cheerfully assisted in forming a plan of the 
non-importation association, and most readily became a 
member of it. 

The manner in which Mr. Hewcs had acquitted himself 
during the session of this congress, was so acceptable to the 
people of North Carolina, that he was again appointed to the 
same high office, and in the month of May, 1775, again ap- 
peared at Philadelphia, and continued in congress until the 
adjournment of that body, on the last day of July. During 
the recess of congress, between July and September, he made 
a visit to his friends in New-Jersey, and in the latter month 
again resumed his place. From this date until the twenty- 
ninth of October, 1779, Mr. Hewes continued to represent 
the state of North Carolina, with the exception of something 
more than a year, during which he devoted himself to his 
private affairs, and to the interests of his state at home. 

The last time that he appeared in congress was on the 
twenty-ninth of October, of the year last menuoned, after 
which, an indisposition under which he had laboured for 
some time confined him to his chamber, and at length, on the 
tenth of November, terminated his life, in the fiftieth year of 
his age. His funeral was attended on. the following day by 
congress, by the general assembly of Pennsylvania, the presi- 
dent and supreme executive council, the minister plenipoten- 
tiary of France, and a numerous assemblage of citizensw la 

^OHH PBllll. 488 

lestimoDy of their respect for his memory, congress resolved 
to wear a crape around the left arm, and to continue in mourn- 
ing for the space of one month. 

Although the events in the life of Mr. Hewes, which we 
have been able to collect, are few, they perhaps sufficiently 
speak his worth, as a man of integrity, firmness, and ardent 
patriotism. * To this may be added, that in personal appear- 
ance he was prepossessing, and characterized in respect to his 
disposition for great benevolence, and in respect to his man* 
ners for great amenity. He left a large fortune, but no chil- 
dren to inherit it. 


John Penn, was a native of the county of Caroline, in the 
province of Virginia, where he was bom on the seventeenth 
day of May, 1741. He was the only child of his parents, 
Moses and Catharine Penn. 

The early education of young Penn was greatly neglected 
by his parents, who appear in no degree to have appreciated 
the value of knowledge. Hence, on his reaching the age of 
eighteen, he had only enjoyed the advantages conferred by a 
common school, and these for the space of but two or three 

The death of Mr. Penn occurred in the year 1759, on which 
event his son became his own guardian, and the sole mana- 
ger of the fortune left him, which, though not large, was com- 
petent It was fortunate that his principles, at this early age, 
were in a good degree established ; otherwise he might, at 
this unguarded period of life, left as he was without pater- 
nal counsel and direction, have become the dupe of the un- 
principled, or giving loose to licentious passions, have ruined 
himself by folly and dissipation. 

Although the cultivation of his mind had been neglect.ed in 
3K 37 


Edward Rutledox, 
Thomas Heyward, 
Thomas Lynch, Jun. 
Arthur Middlkton. 


Edward Rutledge, the first of the South Carolina dele- 
gation, who affixed his name to the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence, was born in the city of Charleston, November, 1749. 
He was the youngest son of Doctor John Rutledge, who emi- 
grated from Ireland to South Carolina, about the year 175&. 
His mother was Sarah Hert, a lady of respectable family, and 
large fortune. At the age of twenty-seven, she became a 
widow with seven children. Her eldest son was John Rut- 
ledge, distinguished for his patriotic zeal during the revolu- 
tion. Her youngest son was the subject of the present me- 

Of the early years of Edward Rutledge we hare little to 
record. He was placed under the care of David Smith, of 
New-Jersey, by whom he was instructed in the learned lan- 
guages ; but he appears not to have made as rapid attainments 
as some others, although, as a scholar, he was respectable. 
Before he had devoted as much time to academic studies, as 

Bimavas. 437 

1 ould have been dealntble, he commenced the study of law 
with hie elder brother, who, at that time, was becoming the 
roost eminent advocate at the Charleston bar. Although at 
this time he was still young, he wu capable of apprecialittg 
the adTanlagee which he enjoyedi and was strongly impelled 
to exertion, by the brilliant and successfnl example whieh 
his brother held constantly before him. 

In ITflO) at the age of twenty yearo, he sailed for England, 
to complete his legal education. He became a student at the 
Temple. He derived great advantage from an attendancA 
upon the English courts, and houses of parliament. In the 
ktter place, he had an opportunity of listening to the elo- 
quence of some of the most distinguished orators who lived 
at that day. 

In 1773, he returned to his natire country, and entered 
upon the duties of his profession. He was at this time distin- 
guished for his quickness of apprehension, fluency of speech, 
and graceful delivery. Hence he early excited the admiration 
of those who heard him, and gave promise of that future emi- 
nence to which he was destined to arrive. 

The general esteem in which he was held, was evinced in 
1774, by his appointment to the distinguished congresi which 
assembled at Philadelphia in that year. He was at this time 
b'Jt twenty-five years of age. It was a high honour for so 
young a man to be called to serve in the national council, 
with men of exalted powers and pre-eminent experience. It 
furnished unquestionable proof of the estimation in which he 
was held, and strong presumptive evidence that this estima- 
tion of his talents and moral worth was not unjust. As the 
proceedings of the congress of 1774 were conducted witli 
closed doors, and an injunction of secrecy laid upon its mem- 
bers, it ifl impossible, at this day, to ascertain the precise 
share of influence which the individual members exerted, on 
all the measures which they advocated. Mr. Rutledge was, 
however, with the other delegates of South Carolina, for- 
mally thanked by the provincial congress, for the spirited 
and independent course he bad pursued, and was again electad 
to the important station which he held. 



In toe coDgress of 1776, he took an active part in the dis- 
cussions which preceded the declaratioa of independence. 
He is said to have proposed some alterations in the original 
draught of that celebrated instrument : but the precise nature 
of them it is now impossible to ascertain. The merit of the 
instrument doubtless wholly belongs to Mr* Jefferson. Some 
alterations, indeed, were made in it ; but they were chiefly 
verbal, while the spirit and texture remained untouched. 

At a subsequent date, Mr. Rutledge was appointed* with 
Dr. Franklin and John Adams, as commissioners to wait upon 
Lord Howe, who had requested congress to appoint such a 
committee to enter with him into negotiations for peace. In 
a former page we had occasion to allude to the appointment 
of these commissioners, and to state that the conference was 
productive of no beneficial results. 

On the breaking up of the conference, Lord Howe despatch- 
ed his own barge to convey the commissioners from Long 
Island to New-York. A little before reaching the shore. 
Doctor Franklin, putting his hand in his pocket, began chink- 
ing some gold and silver coin. This, when about leaving the 
boat, he offered to the sailors, who had rowed it. The Bri- 
tish officer, however, who commanded the boat, prohibited 
the sailors accepting it. After the departure of the boat, one 
of the commissioners inquired why he had offered money to 
the sailors. *'Why," said the doctor, in reply, " the British 
think we have no hard money in the colonies, and I thought 
I would show them to the contrary. I risked nothing," added 
he, *' for I knew that the sailors would not be permitted to 
accept it." 

Mr. Rutledge was again appointed to congress, in the year 
1779 ; but in consequence of ill health he was unable to reach 
the scat of government, and returned home. In 1780, during 
the investment of Charleston by the British, Mr. Rutledge 
was taken prisoner by the enemy, and sent to St. Augustine 
as a prisoner, where he was detained nearly a year before he 
was exchanged. Soon after his exchange was effected, he 
landed at Philadelphia, near which he resided, until a short 
time before the city of Charleston was evacuated by the Bri- 


tiflh, when he returned to the place of his natiyity, and to tho 
enjoyment of the society of his friends and relations. 

From this period, for the space of seventeen years, Mr* 
Rutledge was successfully engaged in the practice of his pro- 
fession, and from time to time in important services which 
he rendered to the state, as a member of her legislature. 

In 1708, he relinquished his station at the bar, and was 
elected the chief magistrate of South Carolina. His consti- 
tution, however, became much impaired in consequence of 
severe and repeated attacks of the gout, to which he was sub- 
ject He continued, however, to perform his official duties 
until within a short time before his death. This event is 
supposed to have been somewhat hastened, by a necessary 
attendance upon the sitting of the legislature at Columbia, 
and an unfortunate exposure to rain and cold during his re- 
turn from the latter place to Charleston. On reaching home, 
he was confined by a severe illness, which terminated his life 
on the 23d day of January, 1900. 

The death of Mr. Rutledge was felt to be a severe loss, both 
by the people of Charleston and by the state at large. Few 
men were more deservedly respected ; no one could be more 
generally beloved. Military and other funeral honours were 
paid to him on the occasion of his being carried to his long 
home ; and the universal regret expressed at his departure, 
showed full well how sincerely he was lamented. 

Both in his public and private character, Mr. Rutledge was 
adorned with many virtues. In his disposition, he was un- 
commonly benevolent ; he entered with great feeling into the 
sufiTerings of his fellow men, and felt it not only his duty, but 
his pleasure, to administer to their necessities. His deeds of 
kindness were many, were widely extended, and are still re- 
membered with affection and gratitude. 

As an orator, he was deservedly eminent. He had faults, 
indeed, both in point of manner and style, being too studied 
in respect to the former, and too metaphorical, and sometimes 
inaccurate, in respect to the latter. He also, it is said, ad- 
dressed himself rather to the passions than to the undei^ 
standing ; yet, with these duilts there were few speakers who 


oommanded greater attention, or were more sacceasiul. He 
was less impetnous, and perhaps less commanding, than hi« 
brother John Rutledge ; but he possessed more of the style 
of Cicero. There was a suarity in his manner, a conciliatory 
attraction in his arguments, which had frequently the effect 
of subduing the prejudices of the unfriendly, and which sel- 
dom failed to increase the ardour and inflexibility of steady 
iriends. The eloquence of John Rutledge, like that of Pal- 
rick Henry of Virginia, was as a mountain torrent ; that of 
Edward Rutledge, that of a smooth stream gliding along the 
plain ; the former hurried you forward with a resistless im* 
petuosity; the latter conducted you with fascinations, thai 
made every progressive step appear enchanting. 

In his person, Mr. Rutledge was above the middle size, and 
of a florid, but fair complexion. His countenance expressed 
great animation ; and, on account of his intelligent and bene- 
volent aspect, was universally admired. 

On his return from Europe, Mr. Rutledge married the 
daughter of Henry Middleton, by whom he left a son. Ma- 
jor Henry M. Rutledge, of Tennessee ; and a daughter, who, 
it is believed, now resides at Charleston. Upon the death of 
his first wife, he married the widow of Nicholas Eveleigh, 
comptroller of the treasury of the United States, in the time 
of Washington's administration. This lady is supposed to be 
still living. 


Thomas Heyward was born in St Luke*s parish, in the 
province of South Carolina, in the year 1746. His father, 
Colonel Daniel Heyward, was a planter of great wealth, which 
he had chiefly acquired by his industry. 

Unlike many gentlemen of fortune, Mr. Heyward did not 
appear to idolize his possessions ; at least, convinced of the 
importance of intellectual cultivation, he determined to be- 


■tow npon his son bII the advantages which a tharoagh edu- 
cation might impart Accordiogly, the best school in the 
province was selected for young Heyward, who, by his dili- 
^nce, became well acquainted with the Latin language, and 
with such other branches as were at that time taught in the 
most respectable provincial seminaries. 

Having finished his scholastic studies, he entered the law 
office of a Mr. Panons, a gentleman who at that time was dis- 
tinguished for his professional learning and practical skill. 
On accomplishing the usual term of study, young Mr. Hey- 
ward, according to the fashion adopted by families of fortune, 
was sent to Bngland to complete his legal preparation. He 
was entered as a student in one of the Inns of Court. Al- 
though he had in expectancy a large fortune, he devoted him- 
self with great ardour to the study of law, emulating the dili- 
gence of those who expected to derive their Bubsialence front 
the practice of the professiou. 

On completing his studies in England, he commenced the 
tour of Europe, which occupied him several years. This 
was an advantage which he enjoyed beyond most of the 
youth of the colunies ; nor did he neglect to improve the sQ' 
periour means which were thus allowed him of gaining a 
knowledge of the different countries of Europe. He enjoyed 
a rare opportunity of contrasting the industry and simplicity 
of his countrymen, with the indolence, and luxury, and li- 
cenliousness, the pride and haughtiness, so prevalent on the 
old conlinenl. 

At length, satisGed with the observations which he had 
made of men and manners abroad, he returned, with pleasure, 
to his native country ; and impressed with the obligations of 
application to some honest calling, he devoted himaeir, with 
great zeal for a man of fortune, to the labours of the law. 

In I77&, Mr. Heyward was elected to supply a vacancy in 
congress, occasioned by the recall of the distinguished John 
Rutledge, whose presence was required at home to assist in 
defending the state against a threatened invasion. Tliis 
honour, owing to his peculiar modesty, he at first declined. 
He was, however, at length induced to enter upon the duties 


o£ his appointmeDt, and arrived in Pfaiiadeli^ua in season to 
attend upon the discussion of the great queatioii of AmericaB 

In the year 1T78, Mr. Heyward was appointed a judge of 
the criminal courts of the new goyemment A sense of duty 
alone prompted him to accept of this arduous and responsihk 
station. Soon after his elevation to the bench* he was called 
to the painful duty of presiding at the trial and condemnatioo 
of several persons charged with a treasonable correspondence 
with the British army, which, at that time, was in the vicinity 
of Charleston. The condemnation of these persons was fol- 
lowed by their execution, which took place within riew of 
the enemy, and which served to render the judge most ob- 
noxious to the British. 

In the spring of 1780, the city of Charleston was besieged 
by General Clinton, and was taken possession of by him, on 
the 12th of May. Judge Heyward, at this time, had com- 
mand of a battalion. On the reduction of the place, he be- 
came a prisoner of war. As he had been one of the leadery 
of the revolution, he, with several others who had acted a 
similarly distinguished part, were transported to Sl Augustine, 
while the other prisoners were confined on board some prison 
ships in the harbour of Charleston. During his absence, hie 
suffered greatly in respect to his property; his plantation 
being much injured by a party of marauders, and all his slaves 
seized and carried away. Some of his slaves were after- 
wards reclaimed ; but one hundred and thirty were finally 
lost, being transported, as was supposed, for the benefit of 
the sugar planters on the island of Jamaica. 

Judge Heyward, and his fellow prisoners at St. Augustine, 
at length had leave to return to Philadelphia. On his passage 
thither, he narrowly escaped a watery grave. By some acci- 
Jent he fell overboard ; but, fortunately, kept himself from 
sinking by holding to the rudder of the ship, until assistance 
could be rendered to him. 

On returning to Carolina, he resumed his judicial duties; 
in the exercise of which he continued till 1798, During this 
interval, he acted as a member of a convention for formini^ 


the state constitution, in 1790. In the following year, he 
retired from all public labours ond cares, except those which 
were attached to his commission as judge. 

Mr. Heyward was twice married ; in 1773, to a Miss Mat- 
thews, a lady of afiectionate disposition, and great personal 
charms. Sometime ailer her death, he was again connected 
in marriage with a Miss Savage. By both of these wives he 
had children, the history of whom, however, we have not as- 
certained. Judge Hey ward died in March, 1809, in the sixty- 
fourth year of his age. 

Although we have been able to coHect but few incidents in 
the Ufe of Thomas Heyward, our readers may be assured that 
he was among the most estimable of the men who lived in his 
time, and one of the most firm, honest, intelligent, and fear- 
less, who embarked in the revolution. He was characterized 
for sound judgment, and an ardent disposition. Possessing 
such a character, he naturally acquired, and was ju^y enti- 
tled to, the confidence and esteem of his fellow-citizens. 

It was happy for America, happy for the cause of freedom, 
that the God of heaven raised up such a generation of men at 
a time when the civil and religious liberties of the country de- 
manded their wisdom, fortitude, and patriotism ; and at a 
time, too, when, without their existence, and without their 
exalted virtues, the world had never seen so brilliant an ex- 
hibition of political liberty, order, and peace, as is presented 
in the government of republican America. 


Thomas Ltnor was the son of a gentleman of the same 
name, and was bom on the fifth of August, 1749, at Prince 
George's Parish, in the province of South Carolina. The 
fieimily was an ancient one, and i9 said to have originally emi- 
grated from Austria to England, where they settied in th« 


county of Kent ; sometime after which, a bitmch passed over 
to Ireland, and thence some of the descendants remoTed to 
South Carolina. The name of the family is said to have been 
derived from a field of piUse called lince^ upon which tlie 
inhabitants of a certain town in Austria lived, for some time, 
during a siege which was laid to it ; and from which circum- 
stance they changed the name of the town to Lince or Luits, 
which name was adopted by the principal family of the place. 

The precise period when Jonack Lynch, the great grand- 
father of Thomas Lynch, the subject of the present memoir, 
emigrated from Ireland to America is uncertain, but, proba* 
bly, at an early period after the settlement of the colony. At 
his death, he left his son Thomas a slender patrimony, which, 
however, by his industry, and especially by the purchase of a 
large tract of land, which he devoted to the cultivation of 
rice, was increased to a princely fortune. This fortune, at his 
death, was left to a son by the name of Thomas, father of the 
subject of the present sketch. 

At an early age, young Thomas Lynch was sent to a flou- 
rishing school, at that time maintained at Georgetown, South 
Carolina. Before he had reached his thirteenth year, his fa- 
ther removed him from this school and sent him to England, 
to enjoy those higher advantages, which that country pre- 
sented to the youth of America. Having passed some time 
in the collegiate institution of Eaton, he was entered a mem- 
ber of the university of Cambridge, the degrees of which in- 
stitution he received 4n due course. On leaving the universi- 
ty, he sustained a high reputation, both in respect to his clas- 
sical attainments, and for the virtues which adorned his cha- 

This intelligence, communicated by some friend to his fa- 
ther, was so highly flattering, that he was induced to continue 
his son abroad for some years longer, and wrote to him, ex- 
pressing his wish that he should enter his name at the tem- 
ple, with a view to the profession of law. This he accord- 
ingly did, devoting himself with his characteristic zeal to the 
philosophy of juiisprudence, and to the principles of the Bri- 
tish constitution. 


About the year 1772, after an absence of eight or nine 
years, young Mr. Lynch returned to South Carolina. He 
returned an eminently accomplished man ; in his manners 
graceful and insinuating, and with a mind enriched with 
abundant stores of knowledge, justly the pride of his father* 
and an ornament to the society in whidi he was destined to 

Although he was eminently qualified to enter upon the pro- 
fession of law, he succeeded in persuading his father to allow 
him to relinquish the pursuit of a profession which his for- 
tune rendered it unnecessary for him to pursue. Such a pre- 
liminary course was. unnecessary to entitle him to the confi- 
dence and esteem of his fiellow-citizens. These he at onco 

In 1775, on the raising of the first South Carolina regiment 
of provincial regulars, he was appointed to the command of 
a company. Having received his commission, he soon en- 
listed his quota of men, in some of the neighbouring coun- 
ties, and at the head of them took up his march for Charles- 
ton. Unfortunately, during the march he was attacked by a 
violent bilious fever, which greatly injured his constitution^ 
and from the efifects of which he never afterwards entirely re- 

On his recovery, he joined his regiment, but was at this 
time unable, from the feeble state of his health, to perform 
the duties of his station according to his wishes. Added to 
this afiiiction, the unwelcome intelligence was received of the 
dangerous illness of his father, who was at that time attend- 
ing in his place upon congress in Philadelphia. He imme- 
diately made the necessary arrangements to hasten to a dying 
father, if possible to admimster to him the support and con- 
solation which an afifectionate son only could impart To 
his surprise, his application for a furlough for this purpose 
was denied by the commanding officer, Col. Gadsden. This 
disappointment, however, and the controversy which grew 
out of the above refusal, were terminated by his election to 
congress, as the successor of his &ther« He now lost no tUM 
in hastening to Philadelphia, where he found his fiither stfll 



liying, and so far recovered that the hope was indulged thai 
he might yet be able to reach Carolina. 

The health of the younger Mr. Lynch, soon after joining 
congress, began also to decline with the most alarming ra- 
pidity. He continued, however, his attendance upon that 
body, until the declaration of independence had been voted, 
and his signature affixed to that important instrument, fie 
then set out for Carolina in company with his father, who 
had hitherto been detained by feeble health in Philadelphia ; 
but the father lived only to reach Annapolis, when a second 
paralytic attack terminated his valuable life. 

After this afflicting event, the son proceeded to Carolina ; 
but such was his own enfeebled state of health, that he had 
little reason to anticipate the long continuance of life. A 
change of climate, in the view of his physicians and friends, 
presented the only hope of his ultimate recovery. A voyage 
to Europe was at that time eminently hazardous, on account 
of exposure to capture. A vessel, however, was found pro- 
ceeding to St. Eustatia, on board of which, accompanied by 
his amiable and aifectionate wife, he embarked, designing to 
proceed by a circuitous route to the south of France. 

From the time of their sailing, nothing more is known of 
their fate. Various rumours were from time to time in cir- 
culation concerning the vessel in which they sailed ; but their 
friends, after months of cruel suspense, were obliged to adopt 
the painful conclusion, that this worthy pair found a watery 
grave during some tempest, which must have foundered the 
ship in which they sailed. 

Although the life of Mr. Lynch was thus terminated, at an 
early age, he had lived sufficiently long to render eminent ser- 
vices to his country, and to establish his character as a man 
of exalted views and exalted moral worth. Few men pos- 
sessed a more absolute control over the passions of the heart, 
and few evinced in a greater degree the virtues which adorn 
the human mind. In all the relations of life, whether as a 
husband, a friend, a patriot, or the master of the slave, he ap- 
]>eared conscious of his obligations, and found hb pleasure in 
discharging them. 


Thai a man of so much ezcellence« of such ability and in* 
legrity, such firmness and patriotism, so useful to his country, 
BO tender and assiduous in all the obligations of life, should 
have been thus cut off, in the midst of his course, and in a 
manner so painful to his friends, is one of those awful dispen- 
sations of Him whose way is in the great deep, and whose 
judgments are past finding out. 


Arthur Middleton was the son of Henry Middleton, and 
was bom in the year 1743, at the seat of his father, at Mid- 
dleton place, near the banks of the Ashley. 

At the early age of twelve years, he was sent to the cele- 
brated school of Hackney, in the neighbourhood of London ; 
whence, after spending two years, he was removed to the 
school of Westminster. The advantages which he here en- 
joyed resulted in a thorough acquaintance with the Greek and 
Roman classics, especially in a knowledge of the former, in 
which he is said to have greatly excelled. The taste which 
he acquired for classical literature he preserved through life, 
and from the indulgence of it derived an exalted pleasure, 
lost to minds of a heavier mould. 

At the age of eighteen or nineteen, young Middleton be- 
came a member of one of the colleges of the university of 
Cambridge. Having for his companions young men frequently 
of dissipated habits, he was often powerfully tempted to en- 
ter into their youthful follies ; but fortunately he escaped the 
contagion of their pernicious examples, and devoted that lei- 
sure to the improvement of his mind, which the less reflect- 
ing devoted to amusements and vicious indulgence. In his 
twenty-second year, he was graduated bachelor of arts, and 
left the university with the reputation of an accomplished 
fcholar, and a moral man. • 


448 soirrs caeolxha DVLsaATiov. 

By means of hit father's liberality, he was now enabled i» 
tnvel. After visiting several parts of England, he proceeded 
to the continent, where he spent two years, chie^ in the 
sonthem parts of Europe. At Rome, he passed seveial 
months in viewing the various objects of taste afforded by 
that ancient and splendid spot He here greatly improTcd 
his taste for music and painting ; and even became well Tersed 
in the principles of sculpture and architecture. 

Soon after his return to South Carolina,, he was connected 
in marriage with the daughter of Walter Izzard, Esq. Hav- 
ing still a fondness for travelling, he, soon after his marriage, 
again embarked on a visit to Europe, accompanied by his 
wife. In this tour he visited many places in England, whence 
proceeding to the continent, they passed through several of 
the principal cities of France and Spain. In 1773, Mr.^Mid* 
dleton once more returned to America, and now settled down 
on the delightful banks of the Ashley. 

The father of Mr. Middleton was, at this time, a man of 
great wealth, and .both by himself and family the approaching 
controversy between Great Britain and her American colo- 
nies might have been viewed with great concern, had not the 
patriotism with which they were imbued much preferred the 
welfare of their country, to their private interests. A rupture 
with the mother country would necessarily put to hazard the 
wealth which had long been enjoyed by the family, and might 
abridge that influence, and diminish those comforts, which that 
wealth naturally gave them. But what were these in compari- 
son with the rights and liberties of a country, destined to em- 
brace millions within its bosom ? Between the alternatives 
presented, there was no room to hesitate. Both father and 
son, in the spirit which had long characterized the family, 
stood forth in the defence of the rights of America, and " leA 
not a hook to hang a doubt on," that they were patriots of 
the noblest stamp. 

In the spring of 1775, Mr. Arthur Middleton was chosen 
on a secret committee, who were invested with authority to 
place the colony in a state of defence. In the exercise of the 
trust with which they were charged, they immediately took 


possession of the public magazine of arms and ammnnitioni 
and remoTed its contents to a place of safety. 

In the following June, the provincial congress of South 
Carolina proceeded to appoint a council of safety, con- 
sisting of thirteen persons. This council, of which Mr. Mid- 
dleton was a member, took measures to organize a military 
force, the officers of which received commissions at their 
hands, and under their signatures. Among the members of 
this committee, no one exhibited more activity, or manifested 
a greater degree of resolution and firmness, than did Arthur 

In February, 1776, the provincial legislature of South 
Carolina appointed a committee to prepare and report a con- 
stitution, which " should most effectually secure peace and 
good order in the colony, during the continuance of the dis- 
pute with Great Britain." This duty was assigned to Mr 
Middleton and ten others. 

Having discharged the duty to the satisfaction of the as- 
sembly, Mr. Middleton was soon after elected by that body 
a representative of South Carolina in the congress of the 
United States, assembled at Philadelphia. Here he had an 
opportunity of inscribing his name on the great charter of 
American liberties. At the close of the year 1777, Mr. Mid- 
dleton relinquished his seat in congress, and returned to 
South Carolina, leaving behind him, in the estimation of those 
who had been associated with him in the important measures 
of congress, during the time he had been with them, the cha- 
racter of a man of the purest patriotism, of sound judgment, 
and unwavering resolution. 

In the spring of 1778, the assembly of South Carolina pro- 
ceeded to the formation of a new constitution, differing, in* 
many important points, from that of 1776. On presenting H 
to the governor, John Rutledge, for his approbation, that 
gentleman refused to assent to it. But, as he would not 
embarrass the assembly in any measures which they mighel 
deem it expedient to adopt, he resigned the executive chaU*, 
upon which the assembly proceeded by a secret ballot agaltl 

to fill it On counting die votes, it was found that Mr. BOd-' 
3M 38« • 


dleton was elected to the office by a consideraUe majoritj. 
But, entertaining similar riews in respect to the constitutioiit 
expressed by the distinguished gentleman who had vacated 
the chair of state, he frankly avowed to the assembly, that he 
could not conscientiously accept the appointment, under the 
constitution which they had adopted. The candour with 
which he had avowed his sentiment^, and the sterling integ 
rity of the man, exhibited in refusing an honour from con- 
scientious scruples, instead of diminishing their respect for 
him, contributed to raise him still higher in the confidence of 
his fellow-citizens. The assembly proceeded to anothei 
choice, and elected Mr. Rawlins Lowndes to fill the vacancy, 
who gave his sanction to the new constitution. 

During the year 1779, the southern states became the prin 
cipal theatre of the war. Many of the plantations were wan 
tonly plundered, and the families and property of the princi 
pal inhabitants were exposed to the insults and ravages of 
the invaders. During these scenes of depredation, Middle- 
ton place did not escape. Although the buildings were 
spared, ihey were rifled of every thing valuable. Such arti- 
cles as could not easily be transported were either wantonly 
destroyed, or greatly injured. Among those which were in- 
jured, was a valuable collection of paintings belonging to Mr. 
Middleton. Fortunately, at the time the marauders visited 
Middlcton place, the family had made their escape a day's 
journey to the north of Charleston. 

On the investment of the latter place, in the following year, 
Mr. Middleton was present, and actively engaged in tlie de- 
fence of the city. With several others, on the surrender of 
this place, he was taken prisoner, and was sent by sea to St. 
AuguHtine, in East Florida, where he was kept in confinement 
for nearly a year. At length, in July, 1781, he was ex- 
chan^r<.(l, and proceeded in a cartel to Philadelphia. On his 
arrival at the latter place, Governor Rutledge, in the exercise 
of authority conferred upon him by the general assembly of 
South Carolina, appointed him a representative in congress- 
To this oflicc he was again elected in 1782 ; but in the month 
of November of that year, he returned to South Carolina on 




• virit to hif family, from whom he had been separated during 
('M lonf and anxious period. 

Oh die signing the preliminaries of peace, Mr. Middleton 
declined accepting a seat in congress, preferring the pleasures 
of retirement with his family, to any honour which could be 
conferred upon him. He occasionally, howerer, accepted of 
a seat in the state legislature, in which he was greatly instru- 
mental in promoting the tranquillity and happiness of his fel- 

The life of Mr. Middleton was terminated on the 1st of 
January, 1787. His death was occasioned by an intermittent 
fever, which he took in the preceding month of November, 
by an injudicious exposure to the unsettled weather of the 
autumnal season. ' 

In his person, Mr. Middleton was of ordinary size, S3rm- 
metrically proportioned, with fine features, and countenance 
expressive of firmness and decision. 


Button Gwinnett, 
Ltman Haxl, 
Gboroe Walton 


Button Gwinnett was a native of England, where he was 
born about the year 1732. His parents were respectable in 
life, and gave their son as good an education as their mode- 
rate circumstances would allow. On coming of age, Mr. 
Gwinnett became a merchant in the city of Bristol. 

Some time after liis marriage in England, he removed to 
America, and selecting Charleston, South Carolina, as a place 
of settlement, he continued there for about two years ; at the 
expiration of which, having sold his stock in trade, he pur- 
chased a large tract of land in Georgia, where he devoted 
himself extensively to agricultural pursuits. 

Mr. Gwinnett had from his earliest emigration to America 
taken a deep interest in the welfare of the colonies ; but, from 
the commencement of the controversy with Great Britain, he 
had few anticipations that the cause of the colonies could 
succeed. A successful resistance to so mighty a power as 
that of the United Kingdoms, to him appeared extremely 

Birrroir gwinkbtt. 468 

doubtful ; and such continued to be his apprehensions, until 
about the year 1775, when his views experienced no incon- 
siderable change. 

This change in his sentiments, touching the final issue of 
the controTorsy, produced a corresponding change in his con« 
duct He now came forth as the open advocate of strong and 
decided measures, in favour of obtaining a redress, if possin 
ble, of American grievances, and of establishing the rights of 
the colonies on a firm and enduring basis. In the early part 
of the year 1776, he was elected by the general assembly, 
held in Savannah, a representative of the province of Georgia, 
in congress. Agreeal^y to his appointment he repaired to 
Philadelphia, and in die following month of May, for the first 
time, took his seat in the national counciL In October, he 
was re-elected for the year ensuing to the same responsible 

In the month of February, 1777, a convention of citizens 
from Georgia was held in Savannah to frame a constitution 
for the future government of the state. Of this convention 
Mr. Gwinnett was a member, and is said to have fuipnished 
the outlines of that constitution, which was subsequently 

Shortly after the above convention, occurred the death of 
Mr. Bullock, the president of the provincial counciL To this 
office Mr. Gwinnett was immediately elevated. Unfortu- 
nately, while he represented the colony in congress, he was a 
competitor with Colonel Lackland Mcintosh, for the office of 
brigadier general of the continental brigade, about to be levi- 
ed in Georgia, to which office the latter was appointed. The 
success of his rival, Mr. Gwinnett bore with little fortitude. 
His ambition was disappointed, and being naturally hasty in 
his temper, and in his conclusions, he seems, from this time, 
to have regarded Colonel Mcintosh as a personal enemy. 

On becoming president of the executive council, Mr. Gwin- 
nett adopted several expedients by which to mortify his ad- 
versary. Among these, one was the assumption of great 
power over the continental army in Georgia, in consequenee 

4M aiosaiA rauwATiov. 

of which Gtoenl M'lntoch was treated with mncli disreipecl 
hy a part of his officers and soldiers. To hiimUe his adrer- 
sary stUl further, Mr. Gwinnett, in an expedition which he had 
projected against East Florida, designed to command the con- 
tinental troops and the militia of Georgia himself, to the ex- 
clusion of General M*Intosh from the command erea of his 
own brigade. 

Just at this period, it became necessary to conrene the le- 
gblature for the purpose of organizing the new goTemmeoL 
In consequence of the station which Mr. Gwinnett held u 
president of the council, he was prerented from proceeding 
at the head of the expedition destined against East Florida. 
The troops, therefore, were by hU orders placed nnder the 
command of a subordinate officer of M*Intosh*s brigade. The 
expedition entirely failed, and probably contributed to the 
failure of Mr. Gwinnett's election to the office of governor, in 

May, irn. 

This failure blasted the hopes of Mr. Gwinnett, and brought 
his political career to a close. In the disappointment and 
mortification of his adversary, General M*Intosh foolishlj 
exulted. The animosity between these two distinguished 
men, from this time, continued to gather strength, imtil BIr. 
Gwinnett, unmindful of the high offices which he bad held, 
of his obligations to society, and of his paramount obligations 
to the author of his being, presented a challenge to General 
Mcintosh. They fought at the distance of only twelve feet 
Both were severely wounded. The wound of Mr. Gwinnett 
proved mortal ; and on the 27th of May, 1777, in the forty- 
fiflh year of his age, he expired. 

Thus fell one of the patriots of the revolution ; and though 
entitled to the gratitude of his country, for the services which 
he rendered her, her citizens will ever lament that he fell a 
victim to a false ambition, and to a false sense of honour. No • 
circumstances could justify an action so criminal, none can 
ever palliate one so dishonourable. 

In his person, Mr. Gwinnett was tall, and of noble and 
commanding appearance. In his temper, he was irritable ; 


yet in his language he was mild, and in his manners polite 
and gracefuL Happy had it been for him, had his ambition 
been tempered with more prudence ; and probably happy for 
his country, had his political career not b^en terminated in 
the prime of life. 


Ltman Hall was a^native of Connecticut, where he ^ras 
bom about the year 1731. After receiving a collegiate edu* 
cation, and having acquired a competent knowledge of the 
theory and practice of medicine, he removed, in 1752, to 
South Carolina. He was induced, however, during the same 
year, to remove to Georgia, where he established himself at 
Sunbury, in the district of Medway. In this place he con- 
tinued attending to the duties of his profession, until the com- 
mencement of the revolutionary contest 

On the arrival of this important crisis in the history of the 
colonies, the patriotism of Doctor Hall became greatly excited 
to the interests and dangers of his country. He perceived 
that the approaching storm must necessarily be severe ; but 
with the kindred spirits of the north, he was determined to 
meet it with patriotic firmness and resolution. Having ac- 
cepted of a situation in the parish of St John, which was a 
frontier settlement, both his person and property were ex- 
posed to great danger, from his proximity to the Creek In- 
dians and to the royal province of Florida. 

The parish of St John, at an early period of the contest, 
entered with great spirit into the general opposition of the 
country against Great Britain, while a majority of the inhabi- 
tants of Georgia entertained different sentiments. So widely 
dififerent were the views and feelings of the people of this pa- 
rish from those of the inhabitants of the province generally 
that an almost entire separation took place between them. 


In July, 1774, the friends of liberty lield a general aieetim 
at Sarannah, where Doctor Hall appeared as a repreee&taiife 
of the pariah of St John. The measures, however, adopted 
at that time, fell for short of the wishes both of this patriot 
and his constituents. In January, 1T75, aaother meetiBf 
was held at Savannah, at which it was agreed to petition the 
king for a redress of grievances, and for relief from the ariii- 
trary acts of the British ministry. 

The parish of St. John, dissatisfied with the temporizing 
policy of the Savannah convention, in the following month 
made application to the committee of correspondence in 
Charleston, South Carolina, to form an alliance with them, hj 
which%eir trade and commerce should be conducted cm the 
principles of the non-importation association. The patriotie 
views and feelings of this independent people were higUy ap- 
plauded by the committee, but they found themselTes under 
the necessity, by the rules of the continental association, of 
declining the alliance. 

Upon receiving this denial, the inhabitants of St John 
agreed to pursue such independent measures as the patriotic 
principles which they had adopted should appear to justify. 
Accordingly, they resolved not to purchase slaves imported 
into Savannah, nor to hold any commercial intercourse with 
that city, nor with surrounding parishes, unless for the neces- 
saries of life, and these to be purchased by direction of a com- 
mittee. Having taken this independent stand, they next pro- 
ceeded to choose a representative to congress, and on count- 
ing the votes, it was found that Doctor Hall was unanimously 

In the following May, Doctor Hall appeared in the hall of 
congress, and by that body was unanimously admitted to s 
scat. But, as he represented not the colony of Georgia, bu* 
only a parish of the colony, it was at the same time resolved 
to reserve the question as to his right to vote for the further 
deliberation of the congress. 

The above question at length coming before the house, on 
the occasion of congress taking the opinions of its members 
by colonies. Doctor Hall expressed his willingness to give his 


role only in those csmi in which the seDtimenta of congireM 
were not taken hy colonies. 

Fortunately for the cause of liberty, or. tna 15th of Joly, 
1T7S, the convention of Oeorg;i& acceded to the general con- 
federacy, and proceeded to die appointment of fire delegates 
to eongreis, three of whom attended at the adjourned meeting 
of that body, September 13, 1776. 

Among the delegate! thus appointed, Dr. Hall was one. 
To ihii station be was annually re-elected until 17S0, at the 
close of which year he finally retired from the national legi»- 

At length Georgia fell temporarily into the power of the 
, British. On this eTent, Doctor Hall removed his family to the 
north, and suffered the confiscation of all his property by the 
British government established in the stale. In 1762, he re- 
turned to Georgia, and In the following year was elected to 
the chief magistracy of the state. 

After enjoying this office for a time, he retired from the 
cares of public life, and about the siTtieth year of his age, 
died at hie residence in the county of Bnrke, whither he had 

Doctor Hall in hie penon, was tall and well proportioned. 
In his manners he was easy, and in his deportment dignified 
and courteous. He was by nature characterised for a warm 
and enthosiastic disposition, which, however, was mider the 
guidance vf a sound discretion. His mind was active and 
discriminating. Ardent in bis own feelings, he possessed the 
power of «xciting others to action; and though in congress 
he acted not so conapicuoos a part as many others, yet his 
example and his exertions, especially in connexion with those 
of the inhalntants of the circnmseril>ed parish of 8L John, 
powerfully contributed to the final accession of the whole co- 
lony of Georgia to the confederacy ; thus presenting in array 
against the mother conntry the whole number of her Amari- 
ean colonies. 

8M a» 



Georab Walton, the la&t of the Georgia delegation, who 
gigned the declaration of independence, and with an account 
of whom we ahall conclude Uieae biographical notices, waa 
born in the county of Frederick, Virginia, about the year 
1740. He was early apprenticed to a carpenter, who beings 
man of seltish and coninicted views, not only kept him cloecly 
at labour during the day, but refused liim (he privilege of a 
candle, by which lo read at nighl. 

Voung Walton possessed a mind by nature strong in its 
powers, and though uncultivated, not having enjoyed even 
the advanlages of a good schoiaslie education, he was ardently 
bent on the acquisition of knowledge ; eo bent, that during 
the day, at his leisure moments, he would collect light wood, 
which served him at night instead of a candle. His applica- 
tion was close and indefatigable ; his acquiaitloDS rapid and 

Ai the expiration of his apprenticeship, he removed lo the 
province of Georgia, and entered the office of a Mr. Young, 
with whom he pursued the preparatory studies of the profes- 
sion of law, and .in IT74, he entered upon its duties. 

At this lime the British government was in the exercise of 
full power in Georgia. Both the governor and his council 
were firm supporters of the British ministry. It was at this 
period that George Walton, and other kindred spirits, assem- 
bled a meeting of the friends of liberty, at the liberty pole, at 
Tondce's tavern in Savannah, to take into consideration the 
means of preserving the constitutional rights and liberties of 
the people of Georgia, which were endangered by the then 
recent acts of the British parliament. 

At this meeting, Mr. Walton took a distinguished part. 
Others, also, entered with great warmth and animation into 
the debate. It was, at length, determined, lo invile the dif- 
ferent parishes of the province, to come into a general union 
and co-operation with the other provinces of America to se- 
cure their constitutional rights and liberties. 


In opposition to this plan, (he royal goTemor and his coun- 
cil immediately and itrongly enliated themaelrea, and ao for 
■ucceeded by their influence, as to induce another meetinf, 
which was held in January, 1776, to content itself with pre- 
paring a petidon to be presented to the king. Of the com- 
mitter appointed for this purpose Mr. Walton was a member. 
The petition, however, shared the fate of its uumerons pre- 

In February, 1775, (he committee of safety met st Savait 
nah. But notwithstanding that sereral of the members advo- 
cated strong and decisive measures, a majority were for pur- 
suing, for the present, a temporising policy. Accordingly, 
the committee adjourned without concerting any plan for the 
appointment of delegates to the continental congress. This 
induced the people of the parish of St. John, as noticed in the 
preceding memoir, to separate, in a degree, from the provin* 
cial government, and to appoint Mr. Hall a delegate to repre- 
sent them in the national legislature. 

In the month of July, 1775, the convention of Georgia ac- 
. ceded to the general confederacy, and five delegates, Lyman 
Hall, Archibald Bullock, John Houston, John J. Zubly, and 
Noble W. Jones, were elected to represent the state in coi^ 

In the month of FebruBry, 1776, Mr. Wahon was elected 
to the same honourable station, and in the following month of 
October, was re-elected. From this time, until October, 1781, 
be continued to represent the state of Georgia at the seat of 
government, where he displayed much zeal and intelligenco, 
in the discharge of the various duties which were assigned 
him. He was particularly useful on a committee, of which 
Robert Morris and George Clymer were his associates, ap- 
pointed (o transact important continental business in Phila- 
delphia, during the time that congress was obliged to retire 
from that city. 

In December, 1T7S, Mr. Walton received a colonel's com- 
mission in the militia, and was present at the surrender of 
Savannah to the Bridsh arms. During the obstinate defence 
of that place, Colonel Walton wu wounded in the thigh, in 


consequence of which he fell from his horse, and was made i 
prisoner by the British troops. A brigadier-general was de- 
manded in exchuDge for him ; but in September, 1T79, be wu 
eschanged for a captain of the navy. 

In the following month. Colonel Walton wb9 appointed 
governor of the slate ; and in the succeeding January, was 
elected a member of congress for two years. 

The subsequent life of Mr. Walton was jillcd up in the 
discharge of the most respectable offices within the gift of 
the state. In what manner he was appreciated by the peo- 
ple of Georgia, may be learnt from the fact thai he wu 
at six different times elected a representative to congrew; 
twice appointed governor of the slate; once a senator of 
die United States; and at four diSemit perioda » judge 
of the superioDr courts, which last office ha held for fifteen 
yesTB, and until the time of his death. 

It may be gathered from the preceding pegMt respect- 
ing Mr. Walton, (hat he was no ordinary man. He row 
into distinction by the force of his native powers. In 
his temperament he was ardent, and by means of his en- 
thusiasm in the great cause of liberty, rose to higher emi- 
nence, and secured a greater share of public favour and con- 
fidence, than he would otherwise have done. 

Mr. Walton was not without his faults and weaknesses. 
He was accused of a degree of pedantry, and soraclimcs 
indulged his satirical powers beyond the strict rules of pro- 
priety. He was perhaps, also, loo contemptuous of public 
opinion, especially when that opinion varied from his own. 

The death of Mr. Walton occurred on the second day of 
February, 1804. During the latter years of hia life, he'suf- 
fered intensely from frequent and long continued attacks of 
the gout, which probably tended to undermine his consiiiii- 
lion, and to hasten the event of his dissolution. He had at- 
tained however to a good age, and closed his life, happy in 
having contributed his full share towards the measure of fiu 
country's glory. 









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